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Cleopatra 



BY THE SAME AUTHOR 



CETEWAYO AND HIS WHITE NEIGHBOURS 

DAWN 

THE WITCH'S HEAD 

KING SOLOMON'S MINES 

SHE 

JESS 

ALLAN QUATERMAIN 

MAIWA'S REVENGE 

MR. MEESON'S WILL 

COLONEL QUARITCH, V.C. 

CLEOPATRA 

ALLAN'S WIFE 

BEATRICE 

ERIC BRIGHTEYES 

NADA THE LILY 

MONTEZUMA'S DAUGHTER 

(IN COLLABORATION WITH ANDREW LANG) 

THE WORLD'S DESIRE 



Cleopatra 

BEING 

AX ACCOUNT OF THE FALL AND VENGEANCE OF 

HARMACHIS, THE ROYAL EGYPTIAN, AS 

SET FORTH BY HIS OWN HAND 



BY 



H. RIDEE HAGGAED 



AUTHOR OP 

'KING SOLOMON'S MINES' 'SHE' 'ALLAN QUATERMAIN ' 

ETC. 



NEW EDITION 



LONDON 
LONGMANS, GEEEN, AND CO. 

1894 

All rights reserved 



Dedication. 

21 V DEAR Mo THEN, 

I have for a long while hoped to be allowed 
to dedicate some booh of mine to you, and now I bring 
you this ivork, because whatever its shortcomings, and 
whatever judgment may be passed upon it by yourself 
and others, it is yet the one I should zuish you to 
accept. 

I trust that you will receive from my romance of 
1 Cleopatra' some such pleasure as lightened the labour 
of its building up ; and that it may convey to your 
mind a picture, however imperfect, of the old and 
mysterious Egypt in whose lost glories you are so 
deeply interested. 

Your affectionate and dutiful Son, 

H. Bider Haggard. 
January 21, 1889. 



Hutbor's Bote 



The history of the ruin of Antony and Cleopatra must have 
struck many students of the records of their age as one of the 
most inexplicable of tragic tales. What malign influence and 
secret hates were at work, continually sapping their prosperity 
and blinding their judgment *? Why did Cleopatra fly at 
Actium, and why did Antony follow her, leaving his fleet and 
army to destruction ? An attempt is made in this romance to 
suggest a possible answer to these and some other questions. 

The reader is asked to bear in mind, however, that the 
story is told, not from a modern point of view, but as from 
the broken heart and with the lips of an Egyptian patriot 
of royal blood ; no mere beast- worshipper, but a priest in- 
structed in the inmost mysteries, who believed firmly in the 
personal existence of the gods of Khem, in the possibility of 
communion with them, and in the certainty of immortal life 
with its rewards and punishments ; to whom also the be- 
wildering and often gross symbolism of the Osirian Faith was 
nothing but a veil woven to obscure secrets of the Sanctuary. 
Whatever proportion of truth there may have been in their 
spiritual claims and imaginings, if indeed there was any, 
such men as the Prince Harmachis have been told of in the 
annals of every great religion, and, as is shown by the testi- 
mony of monumental and sacred inscriptions, they were not 
unknown among the worshippers of the Egyptian Gods, and 
more especially of Isis. 

Unfortunately it is scarcely possible to write a book of this 



viii CLEOPATRA 

nature and period without introducing a certain amount of 
illustrative matter, for by no other means can the long dead 
past be made to live again before the reader's eyes with 
all its accessories of faded pomp and forgotten mystery. To 
such students as seek a story only, and are not interested in 
the Faith, ceremonies, or customs of the Mother of Religion 
and Civilisation, ancient Egypt, it is, however, respectfully 
suggested that they should exercise the art of skipping, and 
open this tale at its Second Book. 

That version of the death of Cleopatra has been preferred 
which attributes her end to poison. According to Plutarch 
its actual manner is very uncertain, though popular rumour 
ascribed it to the bite of an asp. She seems, however, to 
have carried out her design under the advice of that shadowy 
personage, her physician, Olympus, and it is more than 
doubtful if he would have resorted to such a fantastic and 
uncertain method of destroying life. 

It may be mentioned that so late as the reign of Ptolemy 
Epiphanes, pretenders of native blood, one of whom was 
named Harmachis, are known to have advanced their claims 
to the throne of Egypt. Moreover, there was a book ot 
prophecy current among the priesthood which declared that 
after the nations of the Greeks the God Harsefi would create 
the ' chief who is to come.' It will therefore be seen that, 
although it lacks historical confirmation, the story of the 
great plot formed to stamp out the dynasty of the Macedonian 
Lagidae and place Harmachis on the throne is not in itself 
improbable. Indeed, it is possible that many such plots were 
entered into by Egyptian patriots during t-he long ages of 
their country's bondage. But ancient history tells us little 
of the abortive struggles of a fallen race. 

The Chant of Isisand the Song of Cleopatra, which appear 
in these pages, are done into verse from the writer's prose by 
Mr. Andrew Lang, and the dirge sungby.Charmionis translated 
by the same hand from the Greek of the Syrian Meleager. 



Contents 



PAGK 

Introduction 1 



BOOK I. 
THE PREPARATION OF HARM AC HIS. 

CHAPTER I. 

Of the Birth of Harmachis ; the Prophecy of the Hathors ; and the 
Slaying of the Innocent Child 13 

CHAPTER II. 

Of the Disobedience of Harmachis ; of the Slaying of the Lion ; and 
of the Speech of the Old Wife, Atoua 21 

CHAPTER III. 

Of the Rebuke of Amenemhat ; of the Prayer of Harmachis ; and 
of the Sign given by the Holy Gods 30 

CHAPTER IV. 

Of the Departure of Harmachis and of his Meeting with his Uncle 
Sepa, the High Priest of Annu el Ra ; of his Life at Annu, and 
of the Words of Sepa 38 

CHAPTER V. 

Of the Return of Harmachis to Abouthis ; of the Celebration of 
the Mysteries ; of the Chant of Isis ; and of the Warning of 
Amenemhat 48 



CLEOPA TRA 



CHAPTER VI. 

PAGE 

Of the Initiation of Harmachis ; of his Visions ; of his Passing to 
the City that is in the Place of Death ; and of the Declarations 
of Isis, the Messenger 57 

CHAPTER VII. 

Of the Awaking of Harmachis ; of the Ceremony of his Crowning as 
Pharaoh of the Upper and the Lower Land ; and of the Offerings 
made to Pharaoh 70 



BOOK II. 

THE FALL OF HABMACHIS. 

CHAPTER I. 

Of the Farewell of Amenemhat to Harmachis ; of the Coming of 
Harmachis to Alexandria ; of the Exhortation of Sepa ; of the 
Passing of Cleopatra robed as Isis ; and of the Overthrow of the 
Gladiator by Harmachis 81 

CHAPTER II. 
Of the Coming of Charmion ; and of the Wrath of Sepa . . .94 

CHAPTER III. 

Of the Coming of Harmachis to the Palace ; of how he drew Paulus 
through the Gates ; of Cleopatra sleeping ; and of the Magic of 
Harmachis which he showed her 10.1 

CHAPTER IV. 

Of the Ways of Charmion ; and of the Crowning of Harmachis as 
the King of Love 113 

CHAPTEB V. 

Of the Coming of Cleopatra to the Chamber of Harmachis; of the 
Throwing forth of the Kerchief of Charmion ; of the Stars; and 
of the Gift by Cleopatra oi' her Friendship to her servant Har« 
maohis i-l 



CONTENTS xi 



CHAPTER VI. 

Of the Words and Jealousy of Charmion ; of the Laughter of Har- 
machis ; of the Making Ready for the Deed of Blood ; and of the 
Message of the Old Wife, Atoua 131 



CHAPTER VII. 

Of the veiled Words of Charmion ; of the Passing of Harmachis 
into the Presence of Cleopatra ; and of the Overthrow of Har- 
machis 142 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Of the Awaking of Harmachis ; of the Sight of Death ; of the Com- 
ing of Cleopatra ; and of her Comfortable Words . . . 153 

CHAPTER IX. 

Of the Imprisonment of Harmachis ; of the Scorn of Charmion ; of 
the Setting Free of Harmachis ; and of the Coming of Quintus 
Dellius 161 



CHAPTER X. 

Of the Trouble of Cleopatra ; of her Oath to Harmachis ; and of 
the Telling by Harmachis to Cleopatra of the Secret of the Trea- 
sure that lay beneath the Mass of ' Her ' 171 

CHAPTER XL 

Of the Tomb of the Divine Menkau-ra ; of the Writing on the Breast 
of Menkau-ra ; of the Drawing forth of the Treasure : of the 
Dweller in the Tomb ; and of the Flight of Cleopatra and Har- 
machis from the Holy Place . 181 

CHAPTER XII. 

Of the Coming back of Harmachis ; of the Greeting of Charmion ; 
and of the Answer of Cleopatra to Quintus Dellius, the Ambas- 
sador of Antony the Triumvir 193 



xii CLEOPATRA 



CHAPTEK XIII. 

TAGE 

Of the Keproach of Harmachis ; of the Struggle of Harmachis with 
the Guards ; of the Blow of Brennus ; and of the secret Speech 
of Cleopatra 204 

CHAPTER XIV. 

Of the tender Care of Charmion ; of the Healing of Harmachis ; of 
the Sailing of the Fleet of Cleopatra for Cilicia ; and of the 
Speech of Brennus to Harmachis . ... 214 

CHAPTER XV. 

Of the Feast of Cleopatra ; of the Melting of the Pearl ; of the 
Saying of Harmachis ; and of Cleopatra's Vow of Love . . 223 

CHAPTER XVI. 

Of the Plan of Charmion ; of the Confession of Charmion ; and of 
the Answer of Harmachis 235 



BOOK III. 

THE VENGEANCE OF HARMACHIS. 

CHAPTER I. 

Of the Escape of Harmachis from Tarsus ; of his being cast forth 
as an Offering to the Gods of the Sea ; of his Sojourn in the 
Isle of Cyprus ; of his Return to Abouthis ; and of the Death of 
Amenemhat 247 

CHAPTER II. 

Of the Last Misery of Harmachis ; of the Calling down of the Holy 
Isis by the Word of Fear ; of the Promise of Jsis; of the Coining 
of Atoua, and of the Words of Atoua 257 

CHAPTER III. 

Of the Life of him who was named the Learned Olympus, in the 
Tomb of the Harpers that is by Tape; of his Counsel to Clco- 
paira; of the Message of Charmion; and of the Passing of 
Olympus down to Alexandria 266 



CONTENTS xiii 



CHAPTBB I v. 

J'Ai.IC 

Of the Meeting of Charmion with the Learned Olympus ; of her 
Speech with him ; of the Coming of Olympus into the Pr< 
of Cleopatra ; and of the Commands of Cleopatra . . . 271 

CHAPTER V. 

Of the Drawing forth of Antony from the Timonium back to Cleo- 
patra ; of the Feast made by Cleopatra ; and of the Manner of 
the Death of Eudosius the Steward 283 

CHAPTER VI. 

Of the Workings of the Learned Olympus at Memphis ; of the 
Poisonings of Cleopatra ; of the Speech of Antony to his Cap- 
tains ; and of the Passing of Isis from the Land of Khem . 292 

CHAPTER VII. 

Of the Surrender of the Troops and Fleet of Antony before the 
Canopic Gate ; of the End of Antony ; and of the Brewing of the 
Draught of Death 303 

CHAPTER VIII. 

Of the last Supper of Cleopatra ; of the Song of Charmion ; of the 
Drinking of the Draught of Death ; of the Revealing of Harma- 
chis ; of the Summoning of the Spirits by Harmachis ; and of 
the Death of Cleopatra 312 

CHAPTER IX. 

Of the Farewell of Charmion; of the Death of Charmion; of the 
Death of the Old Wife, Atoua ; of the Coming of Harmachis to 
Abouthis ; of his Confession in the Hall of Six-and-Thirty Pil- 
lars ; and of the Declaring of the Doom of Harmachis . . 325 

CHAPTER X. 

Of the last Writing of Harmachis, the Royal Egyptian . . . 334 



Xist of illustrations 

The wood engravings are executed by Edward Whymper, J. D. 
Cooper, and B. Lloyd, and tlie process blocks bi/ Messrs. 
Walker & Boutall. The Illustrations by Catox Woodville 
are reproduced by permission of the Proprietors of the ' Illus- 
trated London Ncics.' 



ARTIST 

Cleopatra M. Greiffenliagcn Frontispiece 

' I WAS LOWERED RODILY INTO TnOSE ) r, n i rrr 7 -77 m s a 

\ R. Caton Woodville To face p. 4 

SACRED DEPTHS . . . ' 



'They wavered, thinking to slay, R , Caton WoodviUe 



HE ALSO 



I 



19 



• Twice he leapt thus, horrirle to > ,, „ .«. 7 -„ 

\ M. Greiffenhagen „ 25 



SEE 

1 A CLOUD GREW UPOX THE FACE OF 
THE MOOX ' 



I R. Caton Woodville „ 37 



• Still she sits like yoxder Sphixx, . D „ , n ^ , .„ .„ 

R. Caton Woodville „ 45 

axd smiles . . . J 

' Axd we wext forth ' . R. Caton Woodville ,, 56 

1 I SAW the world as it had REEX i to n . , JT 7 .-,-, 

. R. Caton Woodville „ 58 

BEFORE MAX WAS . . J 

' I crowx thee Pharaoh ' R. Caton Woodville „ 78 

'Axd thus ... I for the first time > ,*-/-, ■„ -, 

[ M. Greiffenhagen „ 
saw Cleopatra face to face ' . J 



„ 90 

'Ay, we will work like the worm » D -, , m ^ , .„ ... 

\ R. Caton Woodville 99 

XT TJTF. TTF4RT fVF A FRUTT . I 

'J R. Caton Woodville „ 103 



AT THE HEART OF A FRUIT 
I SEIZED HIM RY MY WILL AXD STARE, 



AXD DREW HIM AFTER ME 



xvi CLEOPA TRA 

ABTIST 

' An omen, eoyal Harmachis ' . . M. Greiffenhagen To face p. 119 

AND WHILE I SPOKE WATCHING THE \ 

stars, she sat and watched my I M. Greiffenhagen „ 126 

FACE ' . . . . . / 

' Far away stood Charmion . . . her \ 

white arms outstretched as L M. Greiffenhagen ,, 145 

though to clasp ' . j 

' And now her lips met mine ' 

' " I've Won," she cried ' 

' Greeting, Harmachis. So my mes- , 
senger has found thee ! ' j 

' he fixed his gaze on cleopatra 1 
... as a man who is amazed ' . ' 

' She held it to the light and gave , ^ Greiffmhagen „ 188 

A LITTLE CRY ' . . . . ' 

' Oh those nights upon the Nile ! ' R. Caton Woodville „ 196 

' I dashed him down ' . M. Greiffenhagen „ 208 

' Noble Antony, thou hast called t ,, ~ .«. , nr , A 

' • M. Greiffenhagen ,, 222 

ME AND I AM COME . . . ' 

1 And thus I left her ' . . M. Greiffenhagen ,, 244 

' I SAW A SPAR OF WOOD TO WHICH I 



M. Greiffenhagen 


151 


M. Greiffenhagen 


, 152 


M. Greiffenhagen 


„ 155 


B. Caton Woodville , 


167 



SWAM 



M. Greiffenhagen ,, 250 



' Before me was Cleopatra, but > ,, ~ . ~ , noA 

M. Greiffenhagen „ 280 

OH! HOW CHANGED .' 

'Who is this man who comes to ) , T „ .«. 7 no , 

\ M. Greiffenhagen ., 284 

GAZE ON FALLEN ANTONY ? ' . ' 

'As SHE SPOKE, THE MAN, WITH A) ,„ ^ • „ 7 oflP 

' • M. Grciflenhagen „ 296 

GBEAT CRY, GAVE UP THE SPIRIT ' ' 

'She looked, she saw the awful, M . Greiffenhagen „ 323 

SHAPES ' ' 



d 



Cleopatra 



INTRODUCTION 

the recesses of the desolate Libyan 
mountains that lie behind the temple 
and city of Abydus, the supposed bury- 
ing place of the Holy Osiris, a tomb was 
recently discovered, among the contents of 
which were the papyrus rolls whereon this 
history is written. The tomb itself is 
spacious, but otherwise remarkable only 
for the depth of the shaft which descends 
vertically from the rock-hewn cave, that once served 
as the mortuary chapel for the friends and relatives 
of the departed, to the coffin-chamber beneath. This 
shaft is no less than eighty-nine feet in depth. The chamber 
at its foot was found to contain three coffins only, though it 
is large enough for many more. Two of these, which in all 
probability inclosed the bodies of the High Priest, Amenem- 
hat, and of his wife, father and mother of Harmachis, the 
hero of this history, the shameless Arabs who discovered them 
there and then broke up. 

The Arabs broke the bodies up. With unhallowed hands 
they tore the holy Amenemhat and the frame of her who had, 
as it is written, been filled with the spirit of the Hathors — 




2 CLEOPA TRA 

tore tli em limb from limb, searching for treasure amidst their 
bones — perhaps, as is their custom, selling the very bones for 
a few piastres to the last ignorant tourist who came their way, 
seeking what he might destroy. For in Egypt the unhappy, 
the living find their bread in the tombs of the great men who 
were before them. 

But as it chanced, some little while afterwards, one who 
is known to this writer, and a doctor by profession, passed up 
the Nile to Abydus, and became acquainted with the men who 
had done this thing. They revealed to him the secret of the 
place, telling him that one coffin yet remained entombed. It 
seemed to be the coffin of a poor person, they said, and there- 
fore, being pressed for time, they had left it unviolated. 
Moved by curiosity to explore the recesses of a tomb as yet 
unprofaned by tourists, my friend bribed the Arabs to show 
it to him. What ensued I will give in his own words, exactly 
as he wrote it to me : — 

1 1 slept that night near the Temple of Seti, and started 
before daybreak on the following morning. With me were a 
cross-eyed rascal called Ali — Ali Baba I named him — the man 
from whom I got the ring which I am sending you, and a small 
but choice assortment of his fellow thieves. Within an hour 
after sunrise we reached the valley where the tomb is. It is a 
desolate place, into which the sun pours his scorching heat all 
the long day through, till the huge brown rocks which are 
strewn about become so hot that one can scarcely bear to touch 
them, and the sand scorches the feet. It was already too hot to 
walk, so we rode on donkeys, some way up the valley — where 
a vulture floating far in the blue. overhead was the only other 
visitor — till wo came to an enormous boulder polished by 
centuries of the action of sun and sand. Here Ali halted, say- 
ing that the tomb was under the stone. Accordingly, we dis- 



CLEOPATRA 3 

mounted, and, leaving the donkeys in charge of a fellah boy, 
went up to the rook. Beneath it was a small hole, barely large 
enough for B man to creep through. Indeed it had been dug 
by jackals, for the doorway and some part of the cave were 
entirely silted up, and it was by means of this jackal hole that 
the tomb had been discovered. Ali crept in on his hands 
and knees, and I followed, to find myself in a place cold after 
the hot outside air, and, in contrast with the light, filled with 
a dazzling darkness. We lit our candles, and, the select body 
of thieves having arrived, I made an examination. We were 
in a cave the size of a large room, and hollowed by hand, the 
further part of the cave being almost free from drift-dust. On 
the walls are religious paintings of the usual Ptolemaic char- 
acter, and among them one of a majestic old man with a long 
white beard, who is seated in a carved chair holding a wand 
in his hand. 1 Before him passes a procession of priests bear- 
ing sacred images. In the right hand corner of the tomb is 
the shaft of the mummy pit, a square-mouthed well cut in the 
black rock. We had brought a beam of thorn- wood, and this 
was now laid across the pit and a rope made fast to it. Then 
Ali — who, to do him justice, is a courageous thief — took hold 
of the rope, and, putting some candles into the breast of his 
robe, placed his bare feet against the smooth sides of the well 
and began to descend with great rapidity. Very soon he had 
vanished into blackness, and the agitation of the cord alone 
told us that anything was going on below. At last the rope 
ceased shaking and a faint shout came rumbling up the well, 
announcing Ali's safe arrival. Then, far below, a tiny star of 
light appeared. He had lit the candle, thereby disturbing 
hundreds of bats that flittered up in an endless stream and 
as silently as spirits. The rope was hauled up again, and 
now it was my turn ; but, as I declined to trust my neck to 

1 This, I take it, is a portrait of Amenemhat himself. — Editor. 

b 2 



4 CLEOPA TRA 

the hand-over-liand method of descent, the end of the cord was 
made fast round my middle and I was lowered bodily into 
those sacred depths. Nor was it a pleasant journey, for, if the 
masters of the situation above had made any mistake I should 
have been dashed to pieces. Also, the bats continually flew 
into my face and clung to my hair, and I have a great dislike 
of bats. At last, after some minutes of jerking and dangling, 
I found myself standing in a narrow passage by the side of the 
worthy Ali, covered with bats and perspiration, and with the 
skin rubbed off my knees and knuckles. Then another man 
came down, hand over hand like a sailor, and as the rest were 
told to stop above we were ready to go on. Ali went first 
with his candle — of course we each had a candle — leading the 
way down a long passage about five feet high. At length the 
passage widened out, and we were in the tomb-chamber : I 
think the hottest and most silent place that I ever entered. 
It was simply stifling. This chamber is a square room cut in 
the rock and totally devoid of paintings or sculpture. I held 
up the candles and looked round. About the place were strewn 
the coffin lids and the mummied remains of the two bodies 
that the Arabs had previously violated. The paintings on the 
former were, I noticed, of great beauty, though, having no 
knowledge of hieroglyphics, I could not decipher them. Beads 
and spicy wrappings lay around the remains, which, I saw, 
were those of a man and a woman. 2 The head had been 
broken off the body of the man. I took it up and looked at it. 
It had been closely shaved — after death, I should say, from the 
general indications — and the features were disfigured with 
gold leaf. But notwithstanding this, and the shrinkage of the 
flesh, I think the face was one of the most imposing and 
beautiful that I ever saw. It was that of a very old man, and 
his dead countenance still wore so calm and solemn, indeed, 

' Doubtless Ameneinhat and his wife. -El>. 




) :se saci ed de | 



CLEOPATRA 5 

so awful a look, that I grew quite superstitious (though as you 
know, I am pretty w r ell accustomed to dead people), and put 
the head down in a hurry. There were still some wrappings 
left upon the face of the second body, and I did not remove 
them ; but she must have been a fine large woman in her 
day. 

4 " There the other mummy," said Ali, pointing to a large 
and solid case that seemed to have been carelessly thrown 
down in a corner, for it was lying on its side. 

1 1 went up to it and examined it. It was well made, but 
of perfectly plain cedar-wood — not an inscription, not a 
solitary God on it. 

I M Never see one like him before," said Ali. " Bury great 
hurry, he no ' mafish,' no ' fineesh.' Throw him down there 
on side." 

I I looked at the plain case till at last my interest was 
thoroughly aroused. I was so shocked by the sight of the 
scattered dust of the departed that I had made up my mind 
not to touch the remaining coffin — but now my curiosity 
overcame me, and we set to work. 

1 Ali had brought a mallet and a cold chisel with him, and, 
having set the coffin straight, he began upon it with all the 
zeal of an experienced tomb-breaker. And then he pointed 
out another thing. Most mummy-cases are fastened by four 
little tongues of wood, two on either side, which are fixed in 
the upper half, and, passing into mortices cut to receive them 
in the thickness of the lower half, are there held fast by pegs 
of hard wood. But this mummy-case had eight such 
tongues. Evidently it had been thought well to secure it 
firmly. At last, with great difficulty, we raised the massive 
lid, which was nearly three inches thick, and there, covered 
over with a deep layer of loose spices (a very unusual thing), 
was the body. 



6 C LEO PA TRA 

1 Ali looked at it with open eyes — and no wonder. For 
this mummy was not as other mummies are. Mummies in 
general lie upon their backs, as stiff and calm as though they 
were cut from wood ; but this mummy lay upon its side, and, 
the wrappings notwithstanding, its knees were slightly bent. 
More than that, indeed, the gold mask, which, after the 
fashion of the Ptolemaic period, had been set upon the face, 
had worked down, and was literally pounded up beneath the 
hooded head. 

' It was impossible, seeing these things, to avoid the con- 
clusion that the mummy before us had moved with violence 
since it was put in the coffin. 

' " Him very funny mummy. Him not ' mafish ' when him 
go in there," said Ali. 

'"Nonsense!" I said. "Who ever heard of a live 
mummy ? ' ' 

1 We lifted the body out of the coffin, nearly choking our- 
selves with mummy dust in the process, and there beneath it 
half hidden among the spices, we made our first find. It was 
a roll of papyrus, carelessly fastened and wrapped in a piece 
of mummy cloth, having to all appearance been thrown into 
the coffin at the moment of closing. 3 

1 Ali eyed the papyrus greedily, but I seized it and put it in 
my pocket, for it was agreed that I was to have all that might 
be discovered. Then we began to unwrap the body. It was 
covered with very broad strong bandages, thickly wound and 
roughly tied, sometimes by means of simple knots, the whole 
work bearing the appearance of having been executed in great 
haste and with difficulty. Just over the head was a large lump. 
Presently, the bandages covering it were off, and there, on the 

1 This roll contained the third unfinished book of the history. The 
other two rolls were neatly fastened in the usual fashion. All three are 

written by one hand in the Demotic eli:u:icl< r. Ed. 



CLEOPA TRA 7 

face, lay a second roll of papyrus. I put down my hand to 
lift it, but it would not conn 1 away. It appeared to be fixed 
to the stout seamless shroud which was drawn over the whole 
body, and tied beneath the feet— as a farmer ties sacks. This 
shroud, which was also thickly waxed, was in one piece, being 
made to fit the form like a garment. I took a candle and 
examined the roll and then I saw why it was fast. The spices 
had congealed and glued it to the sack-like shroud. It was 
impossible to get it away without tearing the outer sheets of 
papyrus. 4 

1 At last, however, I wrenched it loose and put it with the 
other in my pocket. 

1 Then we went on with our dreadful task in silence. With 
much care we ripped loose the sack-like garment, and at last 
the body of a man lay before us. Between his knees was a 
third roll of papyrus. I secured it, then held down the light 
and looked at him. One glance at his face was enough to 
tell a doctor how he had died. 

1 This body was not much dried up. Evidently it had not 
passed the allotted seventy days in natron, and therefore the 
expression and likeness were better preserved than is usual. 
Without entering into particulars, I will only say that I hope 
I shall never see such another look as that which was frozen 
on this dead man's face. Even the Arabs recoiled from it in 
horror and began to mutter prayers. 

• For the rest, the usual opening on the left side through 
which the embalmers did their work was absent ; the finely- 
cut features were those of a person of middle age, although 
the hair was already grey, and the frame was that of a very 
powerful man, the shoulders being of an extraordinary width. 
I had not time to examine very closely, however, for within a 
few seconds from its uncovering, the unembalmed body began 
4 This accounts for the gaps in the last sheets of the second roll. — Ed. 



8 CLEOPA TRA 

to crumble now that it was exposed to the action of the air. 
In five or six minutes there was literally nothing left of it but 
a wisp of hair, the skull, and a few of the larger bones. I 
noticed that one of the tibiae — I forget if it was the right or 
the left — had been fractured and very badly set. It must 
have been quite an inch shorter than the other. 

I Well, there was nothing more to find, and now that the 
excitement was over, what between the heat, the exertion, and 
the smell of mummy dust and spices, I felt more dead than 
alive. 

I I am tired of writing, and the ship rolls. This letter, of 
course, goes overland, and I am coming by " long sea," but I 
hope to be in London within ten days after you get it. Then 
I will tell you of my pleasing experiences in the course of the 
ascent from the tomb-chamber, and of how that prince of 
rascals, Ali Baba, and his thieves tried to frighten me into 
handing over the papyri, and how I worsted them. Then, 
too, we will get the rolls deciphered. I expect that they only 
contain the usual thing, copies of the "Book of the Dead," 
but there may be something else in them. Needless to say, I 
did not narrate this little adventure in Egypt, or I should 
have had the Boulac Museum people on my track. Good-bye, 
" Mafish Fineesh," as Ali Baba always said.' 

In due course, my friend, the writer of the letter from 
which I have quoted, arrived in London, and on the very next 
day we paid a visit to a learned acquaintance well versed in 
Hieroglyphics and Demotic writing. The anxiety with which 
we watched him skilfully damping and unfolding one of the 
rolls and peering through his gold-rimmed glasses at the 
mysterious characters may well be ini;i"ii]<'d. 

'Hum,' he said, 'whatever it is, this is not a copy of the 
" Pooh of the Dead," BvGeorge, what's this? Cle-Cleo — 



CLEOPATRA 9 

Cleopatra Why, my dear Sirs, as I am a living man, 

this is the history of somebody who lived in the days of Cleo- 
patra, the Cleopatra, for here's Antony's name with hers ! 
Well, there's six months' work before me here — six months, 
at the very least ! ' And in that joyful prospect he fairly lost 
control of himself, and skipped about the room, shaking hands 
with us at intervals, and saying ' I '11 translate — I '11 translate 
it if it kills me, and we will publish it ; and, by the living 
Osiris, it shall drive every Egyptologist in Europe mad with 
envy ! Oh, what a find ! what a most glorious find ! ' 

And you whose eyes shall fall upon these pages, see, 
they have been translated, and they have been printed, and 
here they lie before you — an undiscovered land wherein you 
are free to travel ! 

Harmachis speaks to you from his forgotten tomb. The 
walls of Time fall down, and, as at the lightning's leap, a 
picture from the past starts upon your view, framed in the 
darkness of the ages. 

He shows you those two Egypts which the silent pyramids 
looked down upon long centuries ago — the Egypt of the 
Greek, the Roman, and the Ptolemy, and that other outworn 
Egypt of the Hierophant, hoary with years, heavy with the 
legends of antiquity and the memory of long-lost honours. 

He tells you how the smouldering loyalty of the land of 
Khem blazed up before it died, and how fiercely the old Time- 
consecrated Faith struggled against the conquering tide of 
Change that rose, like Nile at flood, and drowned the ancient 
Gods of Egypt. 

Here, in his pages, you shall learn the glory of Isis the 
Many-shaped, the Executrix of Decrees. Here you shall 
make acquaintance with the shade of Cleopatra, that ' Thing 
of Flame,' whose passion -breathing beauty shaped the destiny 



io CLEOPATRA 

of Empires. Here you shall read how the soul of Charmion 
was slain of the sword her vengeance smithied. 

Here Harmachis, the doomed Egyptian, being about to 
die, salutes you who follow on the path he trod. In the story 
of his broken years he shows to you what may in its degree be 
the story of your own. Crying aloud from that dim Amenti 5 
where to-day he wears out his long atoning time, he tells, in 
the history of his fall, the fate of him who, however sorely 
tried, forgets his God, his Honour, and his Country. 

5 The Egyptian Hades or Purgatory.— Ed. 



BOOK I. 

Zfoz preparation of Ibarmacbie 



CLEOPA TRA 



*3 



CHAPTEE I. 

OF THE BIRTH OF HARMACHIS ; THE PROPHECY OF 
THE HATHORS | AND THE SLAYING OF THE INNO- 
CENT CHILD. 




Y Osiris who sleeps at Abouthis, I write the 
truth. 

I, Harmachis, Hereditary Priest of the 
Temple, reared by the divine Sethi, afore- 
time a Pharaoh of Egypt, and now justified 
in Osiris and ruling in Amenti. I, Harmachis, 
by right Divine and by true descent of blood 
King of the Double Crown, and Pharaoh of the Upper and 
Lower Land. I, Harmachis, who cast aside the opening 
flower of our hope, who turned from the glorious path, who 
forgot the voice of God in hearkening to the voice of woman. 
I, Harmachis, the fallen, in whom are gathered up all woes 
as waters are gathered in a desert well, who have tasted of 
every shame, who through betrayal have betrayed, who in 
losing the glory that is here have lost of the glory which is 
to be, who am utterly undone — I write, and, by Him who 
sleeps at Abouthis, I write the truth. 

Egypt ! — dear land of Khem, whose black soil nourished 
up my mortal part — land that I have betrayed — Osiris ! — 
isis ! — Horus ! — ye Gods of Egypt whom I have betrayed ! — 



14 CLEOPATRA 

ye temples whose pylons strike the sky, whose faith I 
have betrayed ! — Royal blood of the Pharaohs of eld, 
that yet runs within these withered veins — whose virtue 

1 have betrayed! — Invisible Essence of all Good! and 
Fate, whose balance rested on my hand — hear me ; and, 
to the day of utter doom, bear me witness that I write 
the truth. 

Even while I write, beyond the fertile fields, the Nile is 
running red, as though with blood. Before me the sunlight 
beats upon the far Arabian hills, and falls upon the piles of 
Abouthis. Still the priests make orison within the temples 
at Abouthis that know me no more ; still the sacrifice is 
offered, and the stony roofs echo back the people's prayers. 
Still from this lone cell within my prison-tower, I, the Word 
of Shame, watch thy fluttering banners, Abouthis, flaunting 
from thy pylon walls, and hear the chants as the long pro- 
cession winds from sanctuary to sanctuary. 

Abouthis, lost Abouthis ! my heart goes out toward thee ! 
For the day comes when the desert sands shall fill thy 
secret places ! Thy Gods are doomed, Abouthis ! New 
Faiths shall make a mock of all thy Holies, and Centurion 
shall call upon Centurion across thy fortress- walls. I weep 
— I weep tears of blood : for mine is the sin that brought 
about these evils and mine for ever is their shame. 

Behold, it is written hereafter. 

Here in Abouthis I was born, I, Harmachis, and my father, 
the justified in Osiris, was High Priest of the Temple of Sethi. 
And on that same day of my birth Cleopatra, the Queen of 
Egypt, was born also. I passed my youth in yonder fields 
watching the baser people at their labours and going in and 
out at will among the great courts of the temples. Of my 



CLEOPATRA 15 

mother 1 knew naught, for she died when I yet hung at the 
breast. But before she died in the reign of Ptolemy Auletes, 
wlu> is named the Piper, so the old wife, Atoua, .told me, my 
mother took a golden uraeus, the snake symbol of our Royalty 
of Egypt, from a coffer of ivory and laid it on my brow. And 
those who saw her do this believed that she was distraught of 
the Divinity, and in her madness foreshadowed that the day 
of the Macedonian Lagidaa was ended, and that Egypt's sceptre 
should pass again to the hand of Egypt's true and Royal race. 
But when my father, the old High Priest Amenemhat, whose 
only child I was, she who was his wife before my mother 
having been, for what crime I know not, cursed with barren- 
ness by Sekhet : I say when my father came hi and saw what 
the dying woman had done, he lifted up his hands towards 
the vault of heaven and adored the Invisible, because of the 
sign that had been sent. And as he adored, the Hathors l 
filled my dying mother with the Spirit of Prophecy, and she 
rose in strength from the couch and prostrated herself thrice 
before the cradle where I lay asleep, the Royal asp upon my 
brow, crying aloud : 

1 Hail to thee, fruit of my womb ! Hail to thee, Royal 
child ! Hail to thee, Pharaoh that shalt be ! Hail to thee, God 
that shalt purge the land, Divine seed of Nekt-nebf, the 
descended from Isis. Keep thee pure, and thou shalt rule 
and deliver Egypt and not be broken. But if thou dost fail 
in thy hour of trial, then may the curse of all the Gods of 
Egypt rest upon thee, and the curse of thy Royal forefathers, 
the justified, who ruled the fand before thee from the age of 
Horus. Then in life mayst thou be wretched, and after death 
may Osiris refuse thee, and the judges of Amenti give judg- 
ment against thee, and Set and Sekhet torment thee, till such 
time as thy sin is purged, and the Gods of Egypt, called by 
1 The Egyptian Parcce or' Fates. — Ed. 



1 6 CLEOPATRA 

strange names, are once more worshipped in the Temples of 
Egypt, and the staff of the Oppressor is broken, and the foot- 
steps of the Foreigner are swept clean, and the thing is 
accomplished as thou in thy weakness shalt cause it to be 
done.' 

When she had spoken thus, the Spirit of Prophecy went 
out of her, and she fell dead across the cradle where I slept, 
so that I awoke with a cry. 

But my father, Amenemhat, the High Priest, trembled, 
and was very fearful both because of the words which had 
been said by the Spirit of the Hathors through the mouth of 
my mother, and because what had been uttered was treason 
against Ptolemy. For he knew that, if the matter should 
come to the ears of Ptolemy, Pharaoh would send his guards 
to destroy the life of the child concerning whom such things 
were prophesied. Therefore, my father shut the doors, and 
caused all those who stood by to swear upon the holy symbol of 
his office, and by the name of the Divine Three, and by the 
Soul of her who lay dead upon the stones beside them, that 
nothing of what they had seen and heard should pass their 
lips. 

Now among the company was the old wife, Atoua, who had 
been the nurse of my mother, and loved her well ; and in 
these days, though I know not how it has been in the past, 
nor how it shall be in the future, there is no oath that can 
bind a woman's tongue. And so it came about that by-and- 
by, when the matter had become homely in her mind, and her 
fear had fallen from her, she spoke of the prophecy to her 
daughter, who nursed me at the breast now that my mother 
was dead. She did this as they walked together in the desert 
carrying food to the husband of the daughter, who was a 
sculptor, and shaped effigies of the holy Gods in the tombs 
that arc fashioned in the rock — telling the daughter, my nurse, 



CLEOPATRA 17 

how great must be her care and love toward the child that 
should one day be Pharaoh, and drive the Ptolemies from 
Egypt. But the daughter, my nurse, was so filled with 
wonder at what she heard that she could not keep the tale 
locked within her breast, and in the night she awoke her hus- 
band, and, in her turn, whispered it to him, and thereby com- 
passed her own destruction, and the destruction of her child, 
my foster-brother. For the man told his friend, and the friend 
was a spy of Ptolemy's, and thus the tale came to Pharaoh's 
ears. 

Now, Pharaoh was much troubled thereat, for though 
when he was full of wine he would make a mock of the Gods 
of the Egyptians, and swear that the Roman Senate was the 
only God to whom he bowed the knee, yet in his heart he was 
terribly afraid, as I have learned from one who was his 
physician. For when he was alone at night he would scream 
and cry aloud to the great Serapis, who indeed is no true 
God, and to other Gods, fearing lest he should be murdered and 
his soul handed over to the tormentors. Also, when he felt 
his throne tremble under him, he would send large presents 
to the temples, asking a message from the oracles, and 
more especially from the oracle that is at Philae. Therefore 
when it came to his ears that the wife of the High Priest of 
the great and ancient Temple of Abouthis had been filled with 
the Spirit of Prophecy before she died, and foretold that her 
son should be Pharaoh, he was much afraid, and summoning 
some trusty guards — who, being Greeks, did not fear to do 
sacrilege — he despatched them by boat up the Nile, with orders 
to come to Abouthis and cut off the head of the child of the 
High Priest and bring it to him in a basket. 

But, as it chanced, the boat in which the guards came was 
of deep draught, and, the time of their coming being at the 
lowest ebb of the river, it struck and remained fast upon a 

c 



1 8 CLEOPATRA 

bank of nmd that is opposite the mouth of the road running 
across the plains to Abouthis, and, as the north wind was 
blowing very fiercely, it was like to sink. Thereon 'the guards 
of Pharaoh called out to the common people, who laboured at 
lifting water along the banks of the river, to come with boats 
and take them off; but, seeing that they were Greeks of 
Alexandria, the people would not, for the Egyptians do not 
love the Greeks. Then the guards cried that they were on 
Pharaoh's business, and still the people would not, asking what 
was their business. Whereon a eunuch among them who had 
made himself drunk in his fear, told them that they came to 
slay the child of Amenemhat, the High Priest, of whom it was 
prophesied that he should be Pharaoh and sweep the Greeks 
from Egypt. And then the people feared to stand longer in 
doubt, but brought boats, not knowing what might be meant 
by the man's words. But there was one among them — a 
farmer and an overseer of canals — who was a kinsman of my 
mother's and had been present when she prophesied ; and he 
turned and ran swiftly for three parts of an hour, till he came 
to where I lay in the house that is without the north wall of 
the great Temple. Now, as it chanced, my father was away 
in that part of the Place of Tombs which is to the left of the 
large fortress, and Pharaoh's guards, mounted on asses, were 
hard upon us. Then the messenger cried to the old wife, Atoua, 
whose tongue had brought about the evil, and told how the 
soldiers drew near to slay me. And they looked at each other, 
not knowing what to do ; for, had they hid me, the guards 
would not have stayed their search till I was found. But the 
man, gazing through the doorway, saw a little child at play: — 

' Woman,' he said, ' whose is that child ? ' 

1 It is my grandchild,' she answered, 'the foster-brother 
of the Prince Barmachis ; the child to whose mother w<> owe 
this evil case.' 




I 



C LEO PA TRA 19 

1 Woman,' he said, ' thou knowest thy duty, do it!' and 
he again pointed at the child. ' I command thee, by the Holy 
Name ! ' 

Atoua trembled exceedingly, because the child was of her 
own blood ; but, nevertheless, she took the boy and washed him 
and set a robe of silk on him, and laid him on my cradle. 
And me she took and smeared with mud to make my fair skin 
darker, and, drawing my garment from me, set me to play in 
the dirt of the yard, which I did right gladly. 

Then the man hid himself, and presently the soldiers rode 
up and asked of the old wife if this were the dwelling of the 
High Priest Amenemliat ? And she told them yea, and, 
bidding them enter, offered them honey and milk, for they 
were thirsty. 

When they had drunk, the eunuch who was with them 
asked if that were the son of Amenemhat who lay in the 
cradle ; and she said ' Yea — yea,' and began to tell the guards 
how he would be great, for it had been prophesied of him 
that he should one day rule them all. 

But the Greek guards laughed, and one of them, seizing 
the child, smote off his head with a sword ; and the eunuch 
drew forth the signet of Pharaoh as warrant for the deed and 
showed it to the old wife, Atoua, bidding her tell the High 
Priest that his son should be a King without a head. 

And as they went one of their number saw me playing in 
the dirt and called out that there was more breeding in 
yonder brat than in the Prince Harmachis ; and for a moment 
they wavered, thinking to slay me also, but in the end they 
passed on, bearing the head of my foster-brother, for they 
loved not to murder little children. 

After a while, the mother of the dead child returned from 
the market-place, and when she found what had been done, 
she and her husband would have killed Atoua the old wife, 

c 2 



20 CLEOPA TRA 

her mother, and given me up to the soldiers of Pharaoh. But 
my father came in also and learned the truth, and he caused 
the man and his wife to be seized by night and hidden away 
in the dark places of the temple, so that none saw them more. 
But I would to-day it had been the will of the Gods that 
I had been slain of the soldiers and not the innocent child. 

Thereafter it was given out that the High Priest Amen- 
emhat had taken me to be as a son to him in the place of 
that Harmachis who was slain of Pharaoh. 



CLEOPATRA 



21 



CHAPTER II. 



OF THE DISOBEDIENCE OF HAKMACHIS ; OF THE SLAYING 
OF THE LION ; AND OF THE SPEECH OF THE OLD WIFE, 
ATOUA. 

after these things Ptolemy the Piper 
troubled us no more, nor did he 
again send his soldiers to Abouthis 
to seek for him of whom it was pro- 
phesied that he should be Pharaoh. 
For the head of the child, my foster- 
brother, was brought to him by the 
eunuch as he sat in his palace of marble 
at Alexandria, flushed with Cyprian 
wine, and played upon the flute before 
his women. And at his bidding the 
eunuch lifted up the head by the hair for 
him to look on. Then he laughed and smote it on the cheek 
with his sandal, bidding one of the girls crown Pharaoh with 
flowers. And he bowed the knee, and mocked the head of 
the innocent child. But the girl, who was sharp of tongue 
— for all of this I heard in after years — said to him that ' he 
did well to bow the knee, for this child was indeed Pharaoh, 
the greatest of Pharaohs, and his name was the Osiris and his 
throne was Death.' 

Auletes was much troubled at these words, and trembled, 
for, being a wicked man, he greatly feared the entering into 




22 CLEOPA TRA 

Amenti. So he caused the girl to be slain because of the evil 
omen of her saying ; crying that he would send her to worship 
that Pharaoh whom she had named. And the other women 
he sent away, and played no more upon the flute till he was 
once again drunk on the morrow. But the Alexandrians 
made a song on the matter, which is still sung about the 
streets. And this is the beginning of it — 

Ptolemy the Piper played 

Over dead and dying ; 
Piped and played he well. 

Sure that flute of his was made 
Of the dank reed sighing 

O'er the streams of Hell. 

There beneath the shadows grey- 

With the sisters three, 
Shall he pipe for many a day. 

May the Frog his butler be ! 

And his wine the water of that countrie — 
Ptolemy the Piper ! 

After this the years passed on, nor did I, being very little, 
know anything of the great things that came to pass in Egypt ; 
nor is it my purpose to set them out here. For I, Harmachis, 
having little time left to me, will only speak of those things 
with which I have been concerned. 

And as the time went on, my father and the teachers in- 
structed me in the ancient learning of our people and in such 
matters appertaining to the Gods as it is meet that children 
should know. So I grew strong and comely, for my hair was 
black as the hair of the divine Nout, and my eyes were blue as 
11 ie blue lotus, and my skin was like the alabaster within the 
sanctuaries. For now that these glories have passed from me 
I may speak of them without shame. I was strong also. 
There was no youth of my years in Abouthis who oould stand 



CLEOPATRA 23 

against me to wrestle with me, nor could any throw so far 
with the sling or spear. And I much yearned to hunt the 
lion ; but he whom I called my father forbade me, telling 
me that my life was of too great worth to be so lightly 
hazarded. But when I bowed before him and prayed he would 
make his meaning clear to me, the old man frowned and 
answered that the Gods made all things clear in their own 
season. For my part, however, I went away wroth, for there 
was a youth in Abouthis who with others had slain a lion 
which fell upon his father's herds, and, being envious of my 
strength and beauty, he set it about that I was cowardly at 
heart, in that when I went out to hunt I only slew jackals and 
gazelles. Now, this was when I had reached my seventeenth 
year and was a man grown. 

It chanced, therefore, that as I went sore at heart from 
the presence of the High Priest, I met this youth, who called 
to me and mocked me, bidding me know the country people 
had told him that a great lion was down among the rushes by 
the banks of the canal which runs past the Temple, lying at 
a distance of thirty stadia from Abouthis. And, still mocking 
me, he asked me if I would come and help him slay this lion, or 
would I go and sit among the old women and bid them comb 
my side lock ? This bitter word so angered me that I was near 
to falling on him ; but in place thereof, forgetting my father's 
saying, I answered that if he would come alone, I would go 
with him and seek this lion, and he should learn if I were in- 
deed a coward. And at first he would not, for, as men know, 
it is our custom to hunt the lion in companies ; so it was 
my hour to mock. Then he went and fetched his bow and 
arrows and a sharp knife. And I brought forth my heavy 
spear, which had a shaft of thorn-wood, and at its end a 
pomegranate in silver, to hold the hand from slipping ; and, 
in silence, we went, side by side, to where the lion lay. When 



24 CLEOPATRA 

we came to the place, it was near sundown ; and there, upon 
the mud of the canal-bank, we found the lion's slot, which 
ran into a thick clump of reeds. 

' Now, thou boaster,' I said, ' wilt thou lead the way into 
yonder reeds, or shall I ? ' And I made as though I would 
lead the way. 

' Nay, nay,' he answered, ' be not so mad ! The brute 
will spring upon thee and rend thee. See ! I will shoot 
among the reeds. Perchance, if he sleeps, it will arouse him.' 
And he drew his bow at a venture. 

How it chanced I know not, but the arrow struck the sleep- 
ing lion, and, like a flash of light from the belly of a cloud, he 
bounded from the shelter of the reeds, and stood before us 
with bristling mane and yellow eyes, the arrow quivering 
in his flank. He roared aloud in fury, and the earth shook. 

1 Shoot with the bow,' I cried, ' shoot swiftly ere he 
spring ! ' 

But courage had left the breast of the boaster, his jaw 
dropped down and his fingers unloosed their hold so that the 
bow fell from them ; then, with a loud cry he turned and fled 
behind me, leaving the lion in my path. But while I stood 
waiting my doom, for though I was sore afraid I would not 
fly, the lion crouched himself, and, turning not aside, with one 
great bound swept over me, touching me not. He lit, and 
again he bounded full on the boaster's back, striking him such 
a blow with his great paw that his head was crushed as an 
egg thrown against a stone. He fell down dead, and the lion 
stood and roared over him. Then I was mad with horror, and. 
scarce knowing what I did, I grasped my spear and with a 
shout I charged. As I charged the lion lifted himself up on 
his hinder legs, to greet me, bo that his head stood up above 
me. He smote at me with his paw ; but with all my strength 
I drove the broad spear into his throat, and, shrinking from 




*Tv/i';; he leapt thu3, horrible to see.' 



CLEOPATRA 25 

the agony of the steel, his blow fell short and did no more than 
rip my skin. Back he fell, the great spear far in his throat ; 
then rising, he roared in pain and leapt twice the height of a 
man straight into the air, smiting at the spear with his fore- 
paws. Twice he leapt thus, horrible to see, and twice he fell 
upon his back. Then his strength spent itself with Iris rush- 
ing blood, and, groaning like a bull, he died ; while I, being 
but a lad, stood and trembled with fear now that all cause of 
fear had passed. 

But as I stood and gazed at the dead body of him who had 
taunted me, and at the carcass of the lion, a woman came 
running towards me, even the same old wife, Atoua, who, 
though I knew it not as yet, had offered up her flesh and 
blood that I might be saved alive. For she had been gather- 
ing simples, in which she had great skill, by the water's edge, 
not knowing that there was a lion near (and, indeed, the lions, 
for the most part, are not found in the tilled land, but rather 
in the desert and the Libyan mountains), and had seen from 
a distance that which I have set down. Now, when she was 
come, she knew me for Harmachis, and, bending herself, she 
made obeisance to me, and saluted me, calling me Royal, and 
worthy of all honour, and beloved, and chosen of the Holy 
Three, ay, and by the name of the Pharaoh ! the Deliverer ! 

But I, thinking that terror had made her sick of mind, 
asked her of what she would speak. 

1 Is it a great thing,' I asked, ' that I should slay a Hon ? Is 
it a matter worthy of such talk as thine ? There live, and have 
lived, men who have slain many lions. Did not the Divine 
Amen-hetep the Osirian slay with his own hand more than 
a hundred lions ? Is it not written on the scarabasus that 
hangs within my father's chamber, that he slew lions afore- 
time ? And have not others done likewise ? Why then, speakest 
thou thus, foolish woman ? ' 



26 CLE OP A TRA 

All of which I said, because, having now slain the lion, 
I was minded, after the manner of youth, to hold it as a 
thing of no account. But she did not cease to make obeis- 
ance, and to call me by names that are too high to be 
written. 

' Royal One,' she cried, 'wisely did thy mother prophesy. 
Surely the Holy Spirit, the Knepth, was in her, thou con- 
ceived by a God ! See the omen. The lion there — he growls 
within the Capitol at Rome— and the dead man, he is the 
Ptolemy — the Macedonian spawn that, like a foreign weed, 
hath overgrown the land of Nile : with the Macedonian 
Lagidae thou shalt go to smite the lion of Rome. But the 
Macedonian cur shall fly, and the Roman lion shall strike 
him down, and thou shalt strike down the lion, and the land 
of Khem shall once more be free! free! Keep thyself but 
pure, according to the commandment of the Gods, son of 
the Royal House ; hope of Khemi ! be but ware of Woman 
the Destroyer, and as I have said, so shall it be. I am poor 
and wretched ; yea, stricken with sorrow. I have sinned in 
speaking of what should be hid, and for my sin I have paid in 
the coin of that which was born of my womb ; willingly have 
I paid for thee. But I have still of the wisdom of our people, 
nor do the Gods, in whose eyes all are equal, turn their coun- 
tenance from the poor ; the Divine Mother Isis hath spoken 
to me — but last night she spake — bidding me come hither to 
gather herbs, and read to thee the signs that I should see. 
And as I have said, so it shall come to pass, if thou canst but 
endure the weight of the great temptation. Come hither, 
Royal One ! ' and she led me to the edge of the canal, where 
the water was deep, and still and blue. ' Now gaze upon that 
face as the water throws it back. Is not that brow fitted to 
bear the double orown? Do not those gentle eyes mirror the 
majesty of* kings? Hath not the Ptah, the Creator, fashioned 



CLEOPATRA 27 

that form to fit the Imperial garb, and awe the glance of mul- 
titudes looking through thee to God ? 

1 Nay, nay ! ' she went on in another voice — a shrill old 
wife's voice — ' I will— be not so foolish, boy — the scratch of a 
lion is a venomous thing, a terrible thing ; yea, as bad as the 
bite of an asp — it must be treated, else it will fester, and 
all thy days thou shalt dream of lions ; ay, and snakes ; and, 
also, it will break out in sores. But I know of it — I know. I 
am not crazed for nothing. For mark ! everything has its 
balance — in madness is much wisdom, and in wisdom much 
madness, ha ! la ! la ! Pharaoh himself can't say where the 
one begins and the other ends. Now, don't stand gazing there, 
looking as silly as a cat in a crocus-coloured robe, as they say 
in Alexandria ; but just let me stick these green things on the 
place, and in six days you'll heal up as white as a three-year 
child. Never mind the smart of it, lad. By Him who sleeps 
at PhilaB, or at Abouthis, or at Abydus — as our divine masters 
have it now — or wherever He does sleep, which is a thing 
we shall all find out before we want to — by Osiris, I say, 
you'll live to be as clean from scars as a sacrifice to Isis at 
the new moon, if you'll but let me put it on. 

4 Is it not so, good folk ? ' — and she turned to address some 
people who, while she prophesied, had assembled unseen by 
me — ' I've been speaking a spell over him, just to make a way 
for the virtue of my medicine — la ! la ! there's nothing like a 
spell. If you don't believe it, just you come to me next 
time your wives are barren ; it's better than scraping 
every pillar in the Temple of Osiris, I warrant. I '11 make 'em 
bear like a twenty-year-old palm. But then, you see, you 
must know what to say — that's the point — everything comes 
to a point at last. La! la! ' 

Now, when I heard all this, I, Harmachis, put my hand 
to my head, not knowing if I dreamed. But presently looking 



28 CLEOPATRA 

up, I saw a grey-haired man among those who were gathered 
together, who watched us sharply, and afterwards I learned 
that this man was the spy of Ptolemy, the very man, indeed, 
who had wellnigh caused me to be slain of Pharaoh when I 
was in my cradle. Then I understood why Atoua spoke so 
foolishly. 

1 Thine are strange spells, old wife,' the spy said. ' Thou 
didst speak of Pharaoh and the double crown and of a 
form fashioned by Ptah to bear it ; is it not so ? ' 

1 Yea, yea— part of the spell, thou fool ; and what can one 
swear by better nowadays than by the Divine Pharaoh the 
Piper, whom, and whose music, may the Gods preserve to 
charm this happy land ? — what better than by the double 
crown he wears — grace to great Alexander of Macedonia? 
By the way, you know about everything : have they got back 
his chlamys yet, which Mithridates took to Cos ? Pompey 
wore it last, didn't he? — in his triumph, too — just fancy 
Pompey in the cloak of Alexander ! — a puppy-dog in a lion's 
skin ! And talking of lions — look what this lad hath done — 
slain a lion with his own spear ; and right glad you village 
folks should be to see it, for it was a very fierce lion — just see 
his teeth and his claws— his claws ! — they are enough to make 
a poor silly old woman like me shriek to look at them ! And 
the body there, the dead body — the lion slew it. Alack ! he's 
an Osiris l now, the body — and to think of it, but an hour ago 
he was an everyday mortal like you or me ! Well, away with 
him to the embalmers. He'll soon swell in the sun and burst, 
and that will save them the trouble of cutting him open. Not 
that they will spend a talent of silver over him anyway. 
Seventy days in natron— that's all he's likely to gut. La I 
la! how my tongue does run, and it's getting dark. Conic, 
aren't you going to take away the body of that poor lad, and 

' The soul when it has heen absorbed in the Godhead. -Ed. 



CLEOPATRA 29 

the lion, too ? There, my boy, you keep those herbs on, and 
you'll never feel your scratches. I know a thing or two for 
all I "in crazy, and you, my own grandson ! Dear, dear, I'm 
glad his Holiness the High Priest adopted you when Pharaoh 
— Osiris bless his holy name — made an end of his son ; you 
look so bonny. I warrant the real Harmachis could not have 
killed a lion like that. Give me the common blood, say I — it's 
so lusty.' 

1 You know too much and talk too fast,' grumbled the 
spy, now quite deceived. ' Well, he is a brave youth. Here, 
you men, bear this body back to Abouthis, and some of you 
stop and help me skin the lion. We'll send the skin to you, 
young man,' he went on ; ' not that you deserve it : to 
attack a lion like that was the act of a fool, and a fool 
deserves what he gets — destruction. Never attack the strong 
until you are stronger.' 

But for my part I went home wondering. 



3° 



CLEOPATRA 



CHAPTEE III. 

OF THE REBUKE OF AMENEMHAT ; OF THE PRAYER OF 
HARMACHIS ; AND OF THE SIGN GIVEN BY THE 
HOLY GODS. 




OR a while as I, Harmacliis, went, 
the juice of the green herbs which 
the old wife, Atoua, had placed 
upon my wounds caused me much 
smart, but presently the pain 
ceased. And, of a truth, I believe 
that there was virtue in them, for 
within two days my flesh healed up, 
so that after a time no marks remained. 
But I bethought me that I had disobeyed the 
word of the old High Priest, Amenemhat, who 
was called my father. For till this day I knew not 
that he was in truth my father according to the flesh, having 
been taught that his own son was slain as I have written; and 
that he had been pleased, with the sanction of the Divine ones, 
to take me as an adopted son and rear me up, that I might in 
due season fill an office about the Temple. Therefore I was 
much troubled, for I feared the old man, who was very terrible 
in his anger, and ever spoke with the cold voice of Wisdom. 
Nevertheless, I determined to go in to him and confess my 
fault and bear such punishment as he should be pleased to put 
upon me. 80 with the red spear in my hand, and the red 
wounds on my breast, I passed through the outer court of 



CLEOPATRA 31 

the great temple and came to the door of the place where 
the \\vj\\ Priest dwelt. It is a great chamber, sculptured 
round about with the images of the solemn Gods, and the 
Bunlight comes to it in the daytime by an opening cut through 
the stones of the massy roof. But at night it was lit by a 
swinging lamp of bronze. I passed in without noise, for the 
door was not altogether shut, and, pushing my way through 
the heavy curtains that were beyond, I stood with a beating 
heart within the chamber. 

The lamp was lit, for the darkness had fallen, and by its 
light I saw the old man seated in a chair of ivory and ebony 
at a table of stone on which were spread mystic writings of 
the words of Life and Death. But he read no more, for he 
slept, and his long white beard rested upon the table like 
the beard of a dead man. The soft light from the lamp fell 
on him, on the papyri and the gold ring upon his hand, where 
were graven the symbols of the Invisible One, but all around 
was shadow. It fell on the shaven head, on the white robe, on 
the cedar staff of priesthood at his side, and on the ivory of 
the lion-footed chair ; it showed the mighty brow of power, 
the features cut in kingly mould, the white eyebrows, and the 
dark hollows of the deep-set eyes. I looked and trembled, for 
there was about him that which was more than the dignity of 
man. He had lived so long with the Gods, and so long kept 
company with them and with thoughts divine, he was so 
deeply versed in all those mysteries which we do but faintly 
discern, here in this upper air, that even now, before his time, 
he partook of the nature of the Osiris, and was a thing to 
shake humanity with fear. 

I stood and gazed, and as I stood he opened his dark eyes, 
but looked not on me, nor turned his head ; and yet he saw me 
and spoke. 

' Why hast thou been disobedient to me. my son ? ' he 



32 C LEO PA TRA 

said. ' How came it that thou wentest forth against the lion 
when I bade thee not ? ' 

' How knowest thou, my father, that I went forth ? ' I 
asked in fear. 

'How know I? Are there, then, no other ways of know- 
ledge than by the senses ? Ah, ignorant child ! was not my 
Spirit with thee when the lion sprang upon thy companion ? 
Did I not pray Those set about thee to protect thee, to make 
sure thy thrust when thou didst drive the spear into the lion's 
throat ! How came it that thou wentest forth, my son ? ' 

' The boaster taunted me,' I answered, ' and I went.' 

' Yes, I know it ; and, because of the hot blood of youth, 
I forgive thee, Harmachis. But now listen to me, and let 
my words sink into thy heart like the waters of Sihor into the 
thirsty sand at the rising of Sirius. 1 Listen to me. The 
boaster was sent to thee as a temptation, he was sent as a 
trial of thy strength, and see ! it has not been equal to the 
burden. Therefore thy hour is put back. Hadst thou been 
strong in this matter, the path had been made plain to thee even 
now. But thou hast failed, and therefore thy hour is put back.' 

' I understand thee not, my father,' I answered. 

1 What was it, then, my son, that the old wife, Atoua, said 
to thee down by the bank of the canal ? ' 

Then I told him all that the old wife had said. 

' And thou believest, Harmachis, my son ? ' 

' Nay,' I answered ; ' how should I believe such tales ? 
Surely she is mad. All the people know her for mad.' 

Now for the first time he looked towards me, who was 
standing in the shadow. 

' My son ! my son ! ' he cried ; ' thou art wrong. She is 
not mad. The woman spoke the truth ; she spoke not of 

1 The dog-star, whose appearance marked the commencement of (lie 
overflow of the Nile. — Ed. 



CLEOPA TRA 33 

herself, but of the voice within hex that cannot lie. For 
this Atoua is"a prophetess and holy. Now learn thou the 
destiny that the Gods of Egypt have given to thee to fulfil, and 
woe be unto thee if by any weakness thou dost fail therein ! 
Listen : thou art no stranger adopted into my house and 
the worship of the Temple ; thou art my very son, saved 
to me by this same woman. But, Harmachis, thou art 
more than this, for in thee and me alone yet flows the 
Imperial blood of Egypt. Thou and I alone of men alive 
are descended, without break or flaw, from that Pharaoh 
Nekt-nebf whom Ochus the Persian drove from Egypt. The 
Persian came and the Persian went, and after the Persian 
came the Macedonian, and now for nigh upon three hundred 
years the Lagidse have usurped the double crown, defiling the 
land of Khem and corrupting the worship of its Gods. And 
mark thou this : but now, two weeks since, Ptolemy Neus 
Dionysus, Ptolemy Auletes the Piper, who would have slain 
thee, is dead ; and but now hath the Eunuch Pothinus, that 
very eunuch who came hither, years ago, to cut thee off, set 
at naught the will of his master, the dead Auletes, and placed 
the boy Ptolemy upon the throne. And therefore his sister 
Cleopatra, that fierce and beautiful girl, has fled into Syria ; 
and there, if I err not, she will gather her armies and make 
war upon her brother Ptolemy : for by her father's will she 
was left joint-sovereign with him. And, meanwhile, mark 
thou this, my son : the Roman eagle hangs on high, waiting 
with ready talons till such time as he may fall upon the fat 
wether Egypt and rend him. And mark again : the people of 
Egypt are weary of the foreign yoke, they hate the memory of 
the Persians, and they are sick at heart of being named " Men 
of Macedonia " in the markets of Alexandria. The whole 
land mutters and murmurs beneath the yoke of the Greek and 
the shadow of the Roman. 

D 



34 CLEOPA TRA 

1 Have we not been oppressed ? Have not our children 
been butchered and our gains wrung from us to fill the 
bottomless greed and lust of the Lagidae ? Have not the 
temples been forsaken? — ay, have not the majesties of the 
Eternal Gods been set at naught by these Grecian babblers, 
who have dared to meddle with the immortal truths, and 
name the Most High by another name — by the name of 
Serapis — confounding the substance of the Invisible ? Doth 
not Egypt cry aloud for freedom ? — and shall she cry in 
vain ? Nay, nay, for thou, my son, art the appointed way of 
deliverance. To thee, being sunk in eld, I have decreed my 
rights. Already thy name is whispered in many a sanctuary, 
from Abu to Athu ; already priests and people swear allegi- 
ance, even by the sacred symbols, unto him who shall be 
declared to them. Still, the time is not yet ; thou art too 
green a sapling to bear the weight of such a storm. But 
to-day thou wast tried and found wanting. 

1 He who would serve the Gods, Harmachis, must put aside 
the failings of the flesh. Taunts must not move him, nor any 
lusts of man. Thine is a high mission, but this thou must 
learn. If thou learn it not, thou shalt fail therein; and then, 
my curse be on thee ! and the curse of Egypt, and the curse of 
Egypt's broken Gods ! For know thou this, that even the Gods, 
who are immortal, may, in the interwoven scheme of things, 
lean upon the man who is their instrument, as a warrior on 
his sword. And woe be to the sword that snaps in the hour 
of battle, for it shall be thrown aside to rust or perchance be 
melted with fire ! Therefore, make thy heart pure and high 
and strong ; for thine is no common lot, and thine no mortal 
meed. Triumph, Harmachis, and in glory thou shalt go — in 
glory here and hereafter ! Fail, and woe — woe be on thee ! ' 

Hi- paused and bowed his head, and then wont on : 

' Of these matters thou shalt hear more hereafter. Moan- 



CLEOPATRA 35 

while, thou hast much to learn. To-morrow 1 will give thee 
letters, and thou shalt journey down the Nile, past white- 
walled Memphis to Anna. There thou shalt sojourn certain 
years, and Learn more of our ancient wisdom beneath the 
shadow of those secret pyramids of which thou, too, art the 
Hereditary High Priest that is to be. And meanwhile, I will 
sit here and watch, for my hour is not yet, and, by the help of 
the Gods, spin the web of Death wherein thou shalt catch and 
hold the wasp of Macedonia. 

1 Come hither, my son ; come hither and kiss me on the 
brow, for thou art my hope, and all the hope of Egypt. 
Be but true, soar to the eagle crest of destiny, and thou shalt 
be glorious here and hereafter. Be false, fail, and I will spit 
upon thee, and thou shalt be accursed, and thy soul shall 
remain in bondage till that hour when, in the slow flight of 
time, the evil shall once more grow to good and Egypt shall 
again be free.' 

I drew near, trembling, and kissed him on the brow. 
1 May all these things come upon me, and more,' I said, ' if I 
fail thee, my father ! ' 

1 Nay ! ' he cried, ' not me, not me ; but rather those 
whose will I do. And now go, my son, and ponder in thy 
heart, and in thy secret heart digest my words ; mark what 
thou shalt see, and gather up the dew of wisdom, making 
thee ready for the battle. Fear not for thyself, thou 
art protected from all ill. No harm may touch thee from 
without; thyself alone can be thine own enemy. I have 
said.' 

Then I went forth with a full heart. The night was very 
still, and none were stirring in the temple courts. I hurried 
through them, and reached the entrance to the pylon that is 
at the outer gate. Then, seeking solitude, and, as it were, to 
draw near to heaven, I climbed the pylon's two hundred steps, 

d 2 



36 CLEOPATRA 

until at length I reached the massive roof. Here I leaned 
my breast against the parapet, and looked forth. As I 
looked, the red edge of the full moon floated up over the 
Arabian hills, and her rays fell upon the pylon where I stood 
and the temple walls beyond, lighting the visages of the 
car ven Gods. Then the cold light struck the stretch of 
well-tilled lands, now whitening to the harvest, and as the 
heavenly lamp of Isis passed up the sky, her rays crept slowly 
down to the valley, where Sihor, father of the land of Khem, 
rolls on toward the sea. 

Now the bright beams kissed the water that smiled an 
answer back, and now mountain and valley, river, temple, 
town, and plain were flooded with white light, for Mother Isis 
was arisen, and threw her gleaming robe across the bosom of 
the earth. It was beautiful, with the beauty of a dream, 
and solemn as the hour after death. Mightily, indeed, 
the temples towered up against the face of night. Never had 
they seemed so grand to me as in that hour — those eternal 
shrines, before whose walls Time himself shall wither. 
And it was to be mine to rule this moonlit land ; mine to 
preserve those sacred shrines, and cherish the honour of their 
Gods ; mine to cast out the Ptolemy and free Egypt from the 
foreign yoke ! In my veins ran the blood of those great Kings 
who await the day of Eesurrection, sleeping in the tombs of 
the valley of Thebes. My spirit swelled within me as I 
dreamed upon this glorious destiny, I closed my hands, and 
there, upon the pylon, I prayed as I had never prayed before 
to the Godhead, who is called by many names, and in many 
forms made manifest. 

' Amen,' I prayed, ' God of Gods, who hast been from 
tlio beginning; Lord of Truth, who art, and of whom all are, 
who givest out thy Godhead and gatherest it up again ; in the 
circle of whom the Divine ones move and are, who wast from 







A cloud grew upon the face of the moon.' 



CLEOPATRA 37 

all time the Self-begot, and who shalt be till time — hearken 
unto me. 1 

' Amen — Osiris, the sacrifice by whom we are justified, 
Lord of the Region of the Winds, Ruler of the Ages, Dweller 
in the West, the Supreme in Amenti, hearken unto me. 

1 Isis, great Mother Goddess, mother of the Horus — 
mysterious Mother, Sister, Spouse, hearken unto me. If, 
indeed, I am the chosen of the Gods to carry out the purpose 
of the Gods, let a sign be given me, even now, to seal my life 
to the life above. Stretch out your arms towards me, ye 
Gods, and uncover the glory of your countenance. Hear ! ah, 
hear me ! ' And I cast myself upon my knees and lifted up 
my eyes to heaven. 

And as I knelt, a cloud grew upon the face of the moon 
covering it up, so that the night became dark, and the silence 
deepened all around — even the dogs far below in the city 
ceased to howl, while the silence grew and grew till it was 
heavy as death. I felt my spirit lifted up within me, and my 
hair rose upon my head. Then of a sudden the mighty pylon 
seemed to rock beneath my feet, a great wind beat about my 
brows and a voice spoke within my heart : 

* Behold a sign ! Possess thyself in patience, Har- 
machis ! ' 

And as the voice spoke, a cold hand touched my hand, 
and left somewhat within it. Then the cloud rolled from 
the face of the moon, the wind passed, the pylon ceased to 
tremble, and the night was as the night had been. 

As the light came back, I gazed upon that which had 
been left within my hand. It was a bud of the holy lotus new 
breaking into bloom, and from it came a most sweet scent. 

And while I gazed behold ! the lotus passed from my 
grasp and was gone, leaving me astonished. 

1 For a somewhat similar definition of the Godhead see the funeral 
papyrus of Nesikhonsu, a Princess of the Twenty-first Dynasty. — Ed. 



38 



CLEOPA TRA 



CHAPTER IV. 

OF THE DEPARTURE OF HARMACHIS AND OF HIS MEETING WITH 
HIS UNCLE SEPA, THE HIGH PRIEST OF ANNU EL RA ; OF 
HIS LIFE AT ANNU, AND OF THE WORDS OF SEPA 



the dawning of the next day I was 
awakened by a priest of the temple, 
who brought word to me to make 
ready for the journey of which my 
father had spoken, inasmuch as 
there was an occasion for me to 
pass down the river to Annu el Ra. Now 
this is the Heliopolis of the Greeks, whither 
I should go in the company of some priests 
of Ptah at Memphis who had come hither 
to Abouthis to lay the body of one of their 
great men in the tomb that had been pre- 
pared near the resting-place of the blessed Osiris. 

So I made ready, and the same evening, having received 
letters and embraced my father and those about the temple 
who were dear to me, I passed down the banks of Sihor, and 
we sailed with the south wind. As the pilot stood upon 
the prow and with a rod in his hand bade the sailor-men 
loosen the stakes by which the vessel was moored to the 
banks, the old wife, Atoua, hobbled up, her basket of simples 
in her hand, and, calling out her farewell, threw a sandal after 
me for good chance, which sandal I kept for many years. 




CLEOPATRA 39 

So we sailed, and for six days passed down the wonderful 
river, making last each night at some convenient spot. But 
when I lost sight of the familiar things that I had seen day 
by day since I had eyes to see, and found myself alone among 
strange faces, I felt very sore at heart, and would have wept had 
I not been ashamed. And of all the wonderful things I saw 
I will not write here, for, though they were new to me, have 
they not been known to men since such time as the Gods ruled 
in Egypt ? But the priests who were with me showed me no 
little honour and expounded to me what were the things I saw. 
On the morning of the seventh day we came to Memphis, 
the city of the White Wall. Here, for three days I rested 
from my journey and was entertained of the priests of 
the wonderful Temple of Ptah the Creator, and shown the 
beauties of the great and marvellous city. Also I was led in 
secret by the High Priest and two others into the holy 
presence of the God Apis, the Ptah who deigns to dwell 
among men in the form of a bull. The God was black, and 
on his forehead there was a white square, on his back was 
a white mark shaped like an eagle, beneath his tongue 
was the likeness of a scarabaeus, in his tail were double 
hairs, and a plate of pure gold hung between his horns. I 
entered the place of the God and worshipped, while the High 
Priest and those with him stood aside, watching earnestly. 
And when I had worshipped, saying the words which had 
been told me, the God knelt, and lay down before me. Then 
the High Priest and those with him, w T ho, as I heard in after 
time, were great men of Upper Egypt, approached wondering, 
and, saying no w T ord, made obeisance to me because of the 
omen. And many other things I saw in Memphis that are 
too long to write of here. 

. On the fourth day some priests of Annu came to lead me to 
Sepa, my uncle, the High Priest of Annu. So, having bidden 



40 CLEOPATRA 

farewell to those of Memphis, we crossed the river and rode 
on asses two parts of a day's journey through many villages, 
which we found in great poverty because of the oppression of 
the tax-gatherers. Also, as we went, I saw for the first time 
the great pyramids that are beyond the image of the God 
Horemkhu, that Sphinx whom the Greeks name Harmachis, 
and the Temples of the Divine Mother Isis, Queen of the 
Memnonia, and the God Osiris, Lord of Rosatou, of which 
temples, together with the Temple of the worship of the Divine 
Menkau-ra, I, Harmachis, am by right Divine the Hereditary 
High Priest. I saw them and marvelled at their greatness and 
the white carven limestone, and red granite of Syene, that 
flashed the sun's rays back to heaven. But at this time I 
knew nothing of the treasure that was hid in Her, which is the 
third among the pyramids — would I had never known of it ! 

And so at last we came within sight of Annu, which after 
Memphis has been seen is no large town, but stands on 
raised ground, before which are lakes fed by a canal. Behind 
the town is the inclosed field of the Temple of the God Ra. 

We dismounted at the pylon, and were met beneath the 
portico by a man not great of stature, but of noble aspect, 
having his head shaven, and with dark eyes that twinkled like 
the further stars. 

' Hold! ' he cried, in a great voice which fitted his weak body 
but ill. ' Hold ! I am Sepa, who opens the mouth of the Gods ! ' 

1 And I,' I said, ' am Harmachis, son of Amenemhat, 
Hereditary High Priest and Ruler of the Holy City Abouthis ; 
and I bear letters to thee, Sepa ! ' 

'Enter,' ho said. 'Enter!' scanning me nil the while 
with his twinkling eyes. 'Enter, my son!' And he took 
me and led me to a chamber in the inner hall, closed to the 
door, and then, having glanced at the letters that 1 brought, 
of a sudden he fell upon my neck and embraced me. 



CLEOPATRA \\ 

1 Welcome,' he cried, ' welcome, son of my own sister, and 
hope of Kliem ! Not in vain have I prayed the Gods that I 
might live to look upon thy face and impart to thee the wisdom 
which perchance I alone have mastered of those who are left 
alive in Egypt. There are few whom it is lawful that I should 
teach. But thine is the great destiny, and thine shall be the 
ears to hear the lessons of the Gods.' 

And he embraced me once more and bade me go bathe 
and eat, saying that on the morrow he would speak with me 
further. 

This of a truth he did, and at such length that I will forbear 
to set down all he said both then and afterwards, for if I did 
so there would be no papyrus left in Egypt when the task was 
ended. Therefore, having much to tell and but little time 
to tell it, I will pass over the events of the years that 
followed. 

For this was the manner of my life. I rose early, I 
attended the worship of the Temple, and I gave my days to 
study. I learnt of the rites of religion and their meaning, 
and of the beginning of the Gods and the beginning of the 
Upper World. I learnt of the mystery of the movements of 
the stars, and of how the earth rolls on among them. I was 
instructed in that ancient knowledge which is called magic, 
and in the way of interpretation of dreams, and of the draw- 
ing nigh to God. I was taught the language of symbols and 
their outer and inner secrets. I became acquainted with 
the eternal laws of Good and Evil, and with the mystery of 
that trust which is held of man ; also I learnt the secrets 
of the pyramids— which I would that I had never known. 
Further, I read the records of the past, and of the acts and 
words of the ancient kings who were before me since the rule 
of Horus upon earth ; and I was made to know all craft of 
state, the lore of earth, and with it the history of Greece and 



42 CLEOPA TRA 

Rome. Also I learnt the Grecian and the Roman tongues, of 
which indeed I already had some knowledge — and all this 
while, for five long years, I kept my hands clean and my heart 
pure, and did no evil in the sight of God or man ; but laboured 
heavily to acquire all things, and to prepare myself for the 
destiny that awaited me. 

Twice every year greetings and letters came from my 
father Amenemhat, and twice every year I sent back my 
answers asking if the time had come to cease from labour. 
And so the days of my probation sped away till I grew faint 
and weary at heart, for being now a man, ay and learned, I 
longed to make a beginning of the life of men. And often 
I wondered if this talk and prophecy of the things that were 
to be was but a dream born of the brains of men whose wish 
ran before their thought. I was, indeed, of the Royal blood, 
that I knew : for my uncle, Sepa the Priest, showed me a 
secret record of the descent, traced without break from 
father to son, and graven in mystic symbols on a tablet of 
the stone of Syene. But of what avail was it to be Royal 
by right when Egypt, my heritage, was a slave — a slave to do 
the pleasure and minister to the luxury of the Macedonian 
Lagidae — ay, and when she had been so long a serf that, per- 
chance, she had forgotten how to put off the servile smile of 
Bondage and once more to look across the world with Freedom's 
happy eyes ? 

Then I bethought me of my prayer upon the pylon tower 
of Abouthis and of the answer given to my prayer, and won- 
dered if that, too, were a dream. 

And one night, as, weary with study, I walked within the 
sacred grove that is in the garden of the temple, and mused 
thus, I met my uncle Sepa, who also was walking and 
thinking. 

1 Hold ! ' he cried in his great voice ; ' why is thy face so 



CLEOPA TRA 43 

sad, Harmachis ? Has the last problem that we studied over 
whelmed thee ? ' 

4 Nay, my uncle,' I answered, ' I am overwhelmed indeed, 
but not of the problem : it was a light one. My heart is 
heavy, for I am weary of life within these cloisters, and 
the piled-up weight of knowledge crushes me. It is of no 
avail to store up force which cannot be used.' 

• Ah, thou art impatient, Harmachis,' he answered ; ' it 
18 ever the way of foolish youth. Thou wouldst taste of the 
battle ; thou dost tire of watching the breakers fall upon 
the beach, thou wouldst plunge into them and venture the 
desperate hazard of the war. And so thou wouldst be going, 
Harmachis ? The bird would fly the nest as, when they are 
grown, the swallows fly from the eaves of the Temple. Well, 
it shall be as thou desirest ; the hour is at hand. I have 
taught thee all that I have learned, and methinks that the 
pupil has outrun his master,' and he paused and wiped his 
bright black eyes, for he was very sad at the thought of my 
departure. 

1 And whither shall I go, my uncle ? ' I asked rejoicing ; 
'back to Abouthis to be initiated in the mysteries of the 
Gods ? ' 

' Ay, back to Abouthis, and from Abouthis to Alexandria, 
and from Alexandria to the Throne of thy fathers, Harmachis ! 
Listen, now ; things are thus : Thou knowest how Cleopatra, 
the Queen, fled into Syria when that false eunuch Pothinus 
set the will of her father Auletes at naught and raised her 
brother Ptolemy to the sole lordship of Egypt. Thou knowest 
also how she came back, like a Queen indeed, with a great 
army in her train, and lay at Pelusium, and how at this 
juncture the mighty Caesar, that great man, that greatest of 
all men, sailed with a weak company hither to Alexandria 
from Pharsalia's bloody field in hot pursuit of Pompey. But 



44 CLEOPA TRA 

he found Pompey already dead, having been basely murdered 
by Achillas, the General, and Lucius Septimius, the chief of 
the Eoman legions in Egypt, and thou knowest how the Alex- 
andrians were troubled at his coming and would have slain 
his lictors. Then, as thou hast heard, Caesar seized Ptolemy, 
the young King, and his sister Arsinoe, and bade the army of 
Cleopatra and the army of Ptolemy, under Achillas, which 
lay facing each other at Pelusium, disband and go their ways. 
And for answer Achillas marched on Caesar, and besieged him 
straitly in the Bruchium at Alexandria, and so, for a while, 
things were, and none knew who should reign in Egypt. But 
then Cleopatra took up the dice, and threw them, and this was 
the throw she made — in truth, it was a bold one. For, 
leaving the army at Pelusium, she came at dusk to the harbour 
of Alexandria, and alone with the Sicilian Apollodorus entered 
and landed. Then Apollodorus bound her in a bale of rich 
rugs, such as are made in Syria, and sent the rugs as a present 
to Caesar. And when the rugs were unbound in the palace, 
behold ! within them was the fairest girl on all the earth — ay, 
and the most witty and the most learned. And she seduced 
the great Caesar — even his weight of years did not avail to 
protect him from her charms — so that, as a fruit of his folly, 
he wellnigh lost his life, and all the glory he had gained in a 
hundred wars.' 

'The fool!' I broke in— 'the fool! Thou callest him 
great ; but how can the man be truly great who has no 
strength to stand against a woman's wiles ? Caesar, with the 
world hanging on his word ! Caesar, at whose breath forty 
legions marched and changed the fate of peoples ! Caesar the 
cold ! the far-seeing ! the hero ! — Caesar to fall like a ripe; 
fruit into a false girl's lap ! Why, in the issue, of what com- 
mon clay was this Roman Caesar, and how poor a thing ! ' 

But Sepa looked at me and shook his head. ' Be not so 







i i Spb ox, and i 



CLEOPATRA 45 

rash, Harmachis, and talk not with so proud a voice. Knowest 
thou not that in every suit of mail there is a joint, and woe 
to him who wears the harness if the sword should search it 
out ! For Woman, in her weakness, is yet the strongest force 
upon the earth. She is the helm of all things human ; she 
comes in many shapes and knocks at many doors ; she is quick 
and patient, and her passion is not ungovernable like that of 
man, but as a gentle steed that she can guide e'en where she 
will, and as occasion offers can now bit up and now give rein. 
She has a captain's eye, and stout must be that fortress of 
the heart in which she finds no place of vantage. Does thy 
blood beat fast in youth ? She will outrun it, nor will her 
kisses tire. Art thou set toward ambition ? She will unlock 
thy inner heart, and show thee roads that lead to glory. Art 
thou worn and weary? She has comfort in her breast. Art 
thou fallen ? She can lift thee up, and to the illusion of thy 
sense gild defeat with triumph. Ay, Harmachis, she can do 
these things, for Nature ever fights upon her side ; and while 
she does them she can deceive and shape a secret end in 
which thou hast no part. And thus Woman rules the world. 
For her are wars ; for her men spend their strength in gather- 
ing gains ; for her they do well and ill, and seek for greatness, 
to find oblivion. But still she sits like yonder Sphinx, and 
smiles ; and no man has ever read all the riddle of her smile, 
or known all the mystery of her heart. Mock not ! mock 
not ! Harmachis ; for he must be great indeed who can defy 
the power of Woman, which, pressing round him like the invisi- 
ble air, is often strongest when the senses least discover it.' 

I laughed aloud. ' Thou speakest earnestly, my uncle 
Sepa,' I said ; ' one might almost think that thou hadst not 
come unscathed through this fierce fire of temptation. Well, 
for myself, I fear not woman and her wiles ; I know naught 
of them, and naught I wish to know ; and I still hold that 



46 C LEO PA TRA 

this Caesar was a fool. Had I stood where Caesar stood, to 
cool its wantonness that bale of rugs should have been rolled 
down the palace steps, into the harbour mud.' 

1 Nay, cease ! cease ! ' he cried aloud. ' It is evil to speak 
thus ; may the Gods avert the omen and preserve to thee 
this cold strength of which thou boastest. Oh ! man, thou 
knowest not ! — thou in thy strength and beauty that is with- 
out compare, in the power of thy learning and the sweetness 
of thy tongue — thou knowest not ! The world where thou 
must mix is not a sanctuary as that of the Divine Isis. But 
there — it may be so ! Pray that thy heart's ice may never 
melt, so thou shalt be great and happy and Egypt be delivered. 
And now let me take up my tale — thou seest, Harmachis, 
even in so grave a story woman claims her place. The young 
Ptolemy, Cleopatra's brother, being loosed of Caesar, treache- 
rously turned on him. Then Caesar and Mithridates stormed 
the camp of Ptolemy, who took to flight across the river. But 
his boat was sunk by the fugitives who pressed upon it, and 
such was the miserable end of Ptolemy. 

1 Thereon, the war being ended, though she had but then 
borne him a son, Caesarion, Caesar appointed the younger 
Ptolemy to rule with Cleopatra, and be her husband in name, 
and he himself departed for Rome, bearing with him the 
beautiful Princess Arsinoe to follow his triumph in her chains. 
But the great Caesar is no more. He died as he had lived, in 
blood, and right royally. And but now Cleopatra, the Queen, 
if my tidings may be trusted, has slain Ptolemy, her brother 
and her husband, by poison, and taken the child Cicsarion 
to be her fellow on the throne, which she holds by the help 
of the Roman legions, and, as they say, of young Sextus 
Pompeius, who has succeeded Caesar in her love. But, 
Earmachis, the whole land boils and seethes against her. 
In every city the children of Ehem talk of the deliverer who 



CLKOPA TRA 47 

is to come and thou art lie, Harmachis. The time is 
almost ripe. The hour is nigh at hand. Go thou back to 
Abouthis and learn the last secrets of the Gods, and meet 
those who shall direct the bursting of the storm. Then act, 
Harmachis — act, I say, and strike home for Khem, rid the 
land of the Roman and the Greek, and take thy place upon 
the throne of thy divine fathers and be a King of men. For 
to this end thou wast born, Prince ! ' 



4 8 



CLEOPATRA 



CHAPTER V. 

OF THE RETURN OF HARMACHIS TO ABOUTHIS ; OF THE CELE- 
BRATION OF THE MYSTERIES ; OF THE CHANT OF ISIS ; 
AND OF THE WARNING OF AMENEMHAT. 



the next day I embraced my uncle 
Sepa, and with an eager heart 
departed from Annu back to 
Abouthis. To be short, I came 
thither in safety, having been 
absent five years and a month, being 
now no more a boy but a man full 
grown and having my mind well 
stocked with the knowledge of men 
and the ancient wisdom of Egypt. So once 
again I saw the old lands and the known faces, 
though of these some few were wanting, having 
been gathered to Osiris. Now, as, riding across the fields, I 
came nigh to the enclosure of the Temple, the priests and 
people issued forth to bid me welcome, and with them the old 
wife, Atoua, who, but for a few added wrinkles that Time 
had cut upon her forehead, was just as she had been when 
she threw the sandal after me five long years before. 

' La ! la I la!' she cried ; ' and there thou art, my bonny 
lad ; more bonny even than thou wert ! La ! what a man I 
what shoulders 1 and what a face and form ! Ah, it does an 
old woman credit to have dandled thee ! But thou art over- 




CLEOPATRA 49 

pale; those priests down there at Amiu have starved thee, 
surely ? Starve not thyself : the Gods love not a skeleton. 
"Empty stomach makes empty head," as they say at Alex- 
andria. But this is a glad hour ; ay, a joyous hour. Come 
in — come in ! ' and as I lighted down she embraced me. 

But I thrust her aside. ' My father ! where is my father ? ' 
I cried ; ' I see him not ! ' 

'Nay, nay, have no fear,' she answered; 'his Holiness 
is well ; he waits thee in his chamber. There, pass on. 
happy day ! happy Abouthis ! ' 

So I went, or rather ran, and reached the chamber of 
which I have written, and there at the table sat my father, 
Amenemhat, the same as he had been, but very old. I came 
to him and, kneeling before him, kissed his hand, and he 
blessed me. 

4 Look up, my son,' he said, ■ let my old eyes gaze upon 
thy face, that I may read thy heart.' 

So I lifted up my head, and he looked upon me long and 
earnestly. 

' I read thee,' he said at length ; ' thou art pure and strong 
in wisdom ; I have not been deceived in thee. Oh, the years 
have been lonely ; but I did well to send thee hence. Now, 
tell me of thy life ; for thy letters have told me little, and 
thou canst not know, my son, how hungry is a father's heart.' 

And so I told him ; we sat far into the night and talked 
together. And in the end he bade me know that I must now 
prepare to be initiated into those last mysteries that are 
learned of the chosen of the Gods. 

And so it came about that for a space of three months 
I prepared myself according to the holy customs. I ate no 
meat. I was constant in the sanctuaries, in the study of the 
secrets of the Great Sacrifice and of the woe of the Holy 
Mother. I watched and prayed before the altars. I lifted 



5o CLEOPA TRA 

up my soul to God ; ay, in dreams I communed with the In- 
visible, till at length earth and earth's desires seemed to pass 
from me. I longed no more for the glory of this world, my 
heart hung above it as an eagle on his outstretched wings, 
and the voice of the world's blame could not stir it, and the 
vision of its beauty brought no delight. For above me was 
the vast vault of heaven, where in unalterable procession the 
stars pass on, drawing after them the destinies of men ; where 
the Holy Ones sit upon their burning thrones, and watch the 
chariot-wheels of Fate as they roll from sphere to sphere. 

hours of holy contemplation ! who, having once tasted of 
your joy could wish again to grovel on the earth ? vile 
flesh to drag us down ! I would that thou hadst then alto- 
gether fallen from me, and left my spirit free to seek Osiris ! 

The months of probation passed but too swiftly, and now 
the holy day drew near when I was in truth to be united to 
the universal Mother. Never hath Night so longed for the 
promise of the Dawn ; never hath the heart of a lover so 
passionately desired the sweet comirig of his bride, as I 
longed to see Thy glorious face, Isis ! Even now that 

1 have been faithless to Thee, and Thou art far from me, 

Divine ! my soul goes out to Thee, and once more I know 

But as it is bidden that I should draw the veil, and speak of 
things which have not been told since the beginning of this 
world, let me pass on and reverently set down the history of 
that holy morn. 

For seven days the great festival had been celebrated, 
the suffering of the Lord Osiris had been commemorated, 
the grief of the Mother Isis had been sung and glory 
had been done to the memory of the coining of the Divine 
Child Uorus, tin. 1 Son, the Avenger, the God-begot. All 
these things had been carried out according to the ancient 
rites. The boats had floated on the saered hike the priests 



CLEOPA TRA 51 

had scourged themselves before the sanctuaries, and the 
images had been borne through the streets at night. 

And now, as the sun sank on the seventh day, once more the 
great procession gathered to chant the woes of Isis and tell 
how the evil was avenged. We went in silence from the temple, 
and passed through the city ways. First came those who 
clear the path, then my father Amenemhat in all his priestly 
robes, and the wand of cedar in his hand. Then, clad in pure 
linen, I, the neophyte, followed alone ; and after me the 
white-robed priests, holding aloft banners and emblems of 
the Gods. Next came those who bear the sacred boat, and 
after them the singers and the mourners ; while, stretching 
far as the eye could reach, all the people marched, clad in 
melancholy black because Osiris was no more. We went in 
silence through the city streets till at length we came to the 
wall of the temple and passed in. And as my father, the 
High Priest, entered beneath the gateway of the outer pylon, 
a sweet-voiced woman singer began to sing the Holy Chant, 
and thus she sang : 

' Sing we Osiris dead, 

Lament the fallen head : 
The light has left the world, the luorld is grey. 

Athwart the starry skies 

The web of Darkness flies, 
And Isis weeps Osiris passed away. 

Your tears, ye stars, ye fires, ye river's, shed, 

Weep, children of the Nile, weep for your Lord is dead ! ' 

She paused in her most sweet song, and the whole multitude 
took up the melancholy dirge : 

'Softly lue tread, our measured footsteps falling 

Within the Sanctuary Sevenfold ; 
Soft on the Dead that liveth are we calling : 
" Return, Osiris, from thy Kingdom cold ! 
Return to them that ivorship thee of old." ' 

e 2 



52 CLEOPATRA 

The chorus ceased, and once again she sang : 

' Within the court divine 

The Sevenfold sacred shrine 
We pass, while echoes of the Temple walls 

Repeat the long lament 

The sound of sorrow sent 
Far up within the imperishable halls, 

Where, each in other's arms, the Sisters weep, 

Isis and Nephthys, o'er His unawaking sleep.' 1 

And then again rolled forth the solemn chorus of a thousand 
voices : 

' Softly we tread, our measured footsteps falling 
Within the Sanctuary Sevenfold ; 
Soft on the Dead that liveth are we calling : 
" Return, Osiris, from thy Kingdom cold ! 
Return to them that worship thee of old." 

It ceased, and sweetly she took up the song ' 

' dweller in the West, 

hover and Lordliest, 
Thy love, thy Sister Isis, calls thee home I 

Come from thy chamber dun 

Thou Master of the Sun, 
Thy shadowy chamber far below the foam t 

With weary wings and spent 

Through all the firmament, 
Through all the horror -haunted ways of Hell, 

I seek thee near and far, 

From star to wandering star, 
Free with the dead that in Amenti dwell. 

I search the height, the deep, the lands, the skies, 

Bite from the dead and live, our Lord Osiris, rise ! ' 

* Softly we tread, our measured footsteps falling 
Within the Sanctuary Sevenfold ; 
Soft on the Dead that liveth are we calling : 
" Return, Osiris, from thy Kingdom cold ! 
Return to them that worship thee of old." ' 



CLEOPATRA 53 

Now in a strain more high and glad the singer sang : 

' He wakes — from forth the prison 

We sing Osiris risen. 
We sing the child that Nout conceived and bare. 

Thine own love, Isis, waits 

The Warden of the Gates, 
She breathes the breath of Life on breast and hair, 

And in her breast and breath 

Behold ! he ivakcneth, 
Behold ! at length he riseth out of rest ; 

Touched with her holy hands, 

The Lord of all the Lands, 
He stirs, he rises from her breath, her breast ! 

But thou, fell Typhon,fly, 

The judgment day drawn nigh, 
Fleet on thy track as flame speeds Horus from the sky.'' 

* Softly we tread, our measured footsteps falling 
Within the Sanctuary Sevenfold ; 
Soft on the Dead that liveth are we calling : 
" Return, Osiris, from thy Kingdom cold ! 
Return to them that worship thee of old. ," 

Once more, as we bowed before the Holy, she sang, and sent 
the full breath of her glad music ringing up the everlasting 
walls till the silence quivered with her round notes of melody, 
and the hearts of those who hearkened stirred strangely in the 
breast. And thus, as we walked, she sang the song of Osiris 
risen, the song of Hope, the song of Victory : 

' Sing ive the Trinity, 

Sing we the Holy Three, 
Sing we, and praise we and ivorsliip the Throne, 

Throne that our Lord hath set — 

There peace and truth are met 
There in the Halls of the Holy alone ! 

There in the shadowings 

Faint of the folded wings, 



54 CLEOPA TRA 

There shall ive dwell and rejoice in our rest, 

We that thy servants are ! 

Horus drive ill afar I 
Far in the folds of the dark of the West I ' 

Again, as her notes died away, thundered forth the chorus of 
all the voices : 

1 Softly we tread, our measured footsteps falling 

Within the Sanctuary Sevenfold ; 
Soft on the Dead that liveth are we calling : 
" Return, Osiris, from thy Kingdom cold ! 

Return to them that ivorsliip thee of old." ' 

The chanting ceased, and as the sun sank the High Priest 
raised the statue of the living God and held it before the multi- 
tude that was now gathered in the court of the temple. 
Then, with a mighty and joyful shout of : 

1 Osiris our hope ! Osiris ! Osiris ! * 

the people tore their black wrappings from their dress, reveal- 
ing the white robes they wore beneath, and, as one man, they 
bowed before the God, and the feast was ended. 

But for me the ceremony was only begun, for to-night was 
the night of my initiation. Leaving the inner court I bathed 
myself, and, clad in pure linen, passed, as it is ordained, into 
an inner, but not the inmost, sanctuary, and laid the accus- 
tomed offerings on the altar. Then, lifting up my hands to 
heaven, I remained for many hours in contemplation, striving, 
by holy thoughts and prayer, to gather up my strength against 
the mighty moment of my trial. 

The hours sped slowly in the silence of the temple, till at 
length the door opened and my father Amenemhat, the High 
Priest, came in, clad in white, and leading by the hand the 
Priest of Isis. For, having been married, he did not himself 
enter into the mysteries of the Holy Mother. 



CLEOPATRA 55 

I rose to my feet and stood humbly before them. 

1 Art thou ready ? ' said the priest, lifting the lamp he 
held so that its light fell upon my face. ' thou chosen one, 
art thou ready to see the glory of the Goddess face to face ? ' 

' I am ready,' I answered. 

' Bethink thee,' he said again, in solemn tones, ' it is no 
small thing. If thou wilt carry out this thy last desire, under- 
stand, royal Harmachis, that now this very night thou must 
for a while die in the flesh, what time thy soul shall look on 
spiritual things. And if thou diest and any evil shall be found 
within thy heart, when thou comest at last into that awful 
presence, woe unto thee, Harmachis, for the breath of life 
shall no more enter in at the gateway of thy mouth, thy 
body shall utterly perish, and what shall befall thy other 
parts, if I know, I may not say. 1 Art thou, therefore, pure 
and free from the thought of sin ? Art thou prepared to 
be taken to the breast of Her who Was and Is and Shall 
Be, and in all things to do Her holy will ; for Her, while 
she shall so command, to put away the thought of earthly 
woman ; and to labour always for Her glory till at the end thy 
life is gathered to Her eternal life ? ' 

' I am,' I answered ; ' lead on.' 

' It is well,' said the priest. ' Noble Amenemhat, we go 
hence alone.' 

1 Farewell, my son,' said my father ; ' be firm and triumph 
over things spiritual as thou shalt triumph over things earthly. 
He who would truly rule the world must first be lifted up above 
the world. He must be at one with God, for thus only shall 
he learn the secrets of the Divine. But beware ! The Gods 
demand much of those who dare to enter the circle of their 

1 According to the Egyptian religion the being Man is composed of 
four parts : the body, the double or astral shape (ka), the soul (bi), and 
the spark of life sprung from the Godhead (khou).— Ed. 



56 C LEO PA TRA 

Divinity. If they go back therefrom, they shall be judged of 
a sharper law, and scourged with a heavier rod, for as their 
glory is, so shall their shame be. Therefore, make thy heart 
strong, royal Harrnachis ! And when thou speedest down the 
ways of Night and enterest the Holies, remember that from 
him to whom great gifts have been given shall gifts be 
required again. And now— if, indeed, thy mind be fixed— go 
whither it is not as yet given me to follow thee. Farewell ! ' 

For a moment as my heart weighed these heavy words, I 
wavered, as well I might. But I was filled with longing to 
be gathered to the company of the Divine ones, and I knew 
that I had no evil in me, and desired to do only the thing that 
is just. Therefore, having with so much labour drawn the 
bow-string to my ear, I was fain to let fly the shaft. ' Lead 
on,' I cried with a loud voice ; ' lead on, thou holy Priest ! I 
follow thee ! ' 

And we went forth. 




And we went forth.' 



CLEOPA TRA 



57 



CHAPTER VI. 



OF THE INITIATION OF HARMACHIS ; OF HIS VISIONS ; OF HIS 
PASSING TO THE CITY THAT IS IN THE PLACE OF DEATH ; 
AND OF THE DECLARATIONS OF ISIS, THE MESSENGER. 

Hlft silence we passed into the Shrine of 
Isis. It was dark and bare — only 
the feeble light from the lamp 
gleamed faintly upon the sculp- 
tured walls, where, in a hundred 
effigies, the Holy Mother suckled the 
Holy Child. 

The priest closed the doors and bolted 
them. ' Once again,' he said, ■ art thou 
ready, Harmachis ? ' 

1 Once again,' I answered, ' I am 
ready.' 

He spoke no more ; but, having lifted up his hands in 
prayer, led me to the centre of the Holy, and with a swift 
motion put out the lamp. 

1 Look before thee, Harmachis ! ' he cried ; and his voice 
sounded hollow in the solemn place. 

I gazed and saw nothing. But from the niche that is high 
in the wall, where is hid that sacred symbol of the Goddess 
on which few may look, there came a sound as of the rattling 
rods of the sistrum. 1 And as I listened, awestruck, behold! 

1 A musical instrument peculiarly sacred to Isis of which the shape 
and rods had a mystic significance. — Ed. 




58 CLEOPA TRA • 

I saw the outline of the symbol drawn as with tire upon the 
blackness of the air. It hung above my head, and rattled 
while it hung. And, as it turned, I clearly saw the face of 
the Mother Isis that is graven on the one side, and signifies 
unending Birth, and the face of her holy sister, Nephthys, 
that is graven on the other, and signifies the ending of all 
birth in Death. 

Slowly it turned and swung as though some mystic dancer 
trod the air above me, and shook it in her hand. But at 
length the light went out, and the rattling ceased. 

Then of a sudden the end of the chamber became lu- 
minous, and in that white light I beheld picture after picture. 
I saw the ancient Nile rolling through deserts to the sea. 
There were no men upon its banks, nor any signs of man, 
nor any temples to the Gods. Only wild birds moved on 
Sihor's lonely face, and monstrous brutes plunged and wal- 
lowed in his waters. The sun sank in majesty behind the 
Libyan Desert and stained the waters red ; the mountains 
towered up towards the silent sky ; but in mountain, desert, 
and river there was no sign of human life. Then I knew 
that I saw the world as it had been before man was, and a 
terror of its loneliness entered my soul. 

The picture passed and another rose up in its place. 
Once again I saw the banks of Sihor, and on them crowded 
wild-faced creatures, partaking of the nature of the ape more 
than of the nature of mankind. They fought and slew each 
other. The wild birds sprang up in affright as the fire leapt 
from reed huts given by foemen's hands to flame and pillage. 
They stole and rent and murdered, dashing out the brains of 
children with axes of stone. And, though no voice told me, 
I knew that I saw man as he was tens of thousands of years 
ago, when first he marched across the earth. 

Yet another picture. Again I beheld the banks of Sihor ; 




'I saw the world as it had been before man was 



CLEOPA TRA 59 

but on them fair cities bloomed like flowers. In and out 
their gates went men and women, passing to and fro from 
wide, well-tilled lands. But I saw no guards or armies, and 
no weapons of war. All was wisdom, prosperity, and peace. 
And while I wondered, a glorious Figure, clad in raiment that 
shone as flame, came from the gates of a shrine, and the 
sound of music went before and followed after him. He 
mounted an ivory throne which was set in a market-place 
facing the water : and as the sun sank called all the multi- 
tudes to prayer. With one voice they prayed; bending in 
adoration. And I understood that herein was shown the 
reign of the Gods on earth, which was long before the days 
of Menes. 

A change came over the dream. Still the same fair city, 
but other men — men with greed and evil on their faces — 
who hated the bonds of righteous doing, and set their hearts 
on sin. The evening came ; the glorious Figure mounted the 
throne and called to prayer, but none bowed themselves in 
adoration. 

* We are aweary of thee ! ' they cried. ■ Make Evil King! 
Slay him ! slay him ! and loose the bonds of Evil ! Make 
Evil King ! ' 

The glorious Shape rose up, gazing with mild eyes upon 
those wicked men. 

• Ye know not what ye ask,' he cried ; ' but as ye will, so 
be it ! For if I die, by me, after much travail, shall ye once 
again find a path to the Kingdom of Good ! ' 

Even as he spoke, a Form, foul and hideous to behold, 
leapt upon him, cursing, slew him, tore him limb from limb, 
and amidst the clamour of the people sat himself upon the 
throne and ruled. But a Shape whose face was veiled passed 
down from heaven on shadowy wings, and with lamentations 
gathered up the rent fragments of the Being. A moment she 



60 CLEOPA TRA 

bent herself upon tnem, then lifted up her hands and wept. 
And as she wept, behold ! from her side there sprang a 
warrior armed and with a face like the face of Ea at noon. 
He, the Avenger, hurled himself with a shout upon the 
Monster who had usurped the throne, and they closed in 
battle, and, struggling ever in a strait embrace, passed upward 
to the skies. 

Then came picture after picture. I saw Powers and 
Peoples clad in various robes and speaking many tongues. 
I saw them pass and pass in millions — loving, hating, strug- 
gling, dying. Some few were happy and some had woe 
stamped upon their faces ; but most bore not the seal of 
happiness nor of woe, but rather that of patience. And ever 
as they passed from age to age, high above in the heavens 
the Avenger fought on with the Evil Thing, while the scale of 
victory swung now here now there. But neither conquered, 
nor was it given to me to know how the battle ended. 

And I understood that what I had beheld was the holy 
vision of the struggle between the Good and the Evil Powers. 
I saw that man was created vile, but Those who are above 
took pity on him, and came down to him to make him good 
and happy, for the two things are one thing. But man 
returned to his wicked way, and then the bright Spirit 
of Good, who is of us called Osiris, but who has many 
names, offered himself up for the evil-doing of the race that 
had dethroned him. And from him and the Divine Mother, 
of whom all nature is, sprang another spirit who is the Pro 
tector of us on earth, as Osiris is our justifier in Amenti. 

For this is the mystery of the Osiris. 

01" a sudden, as I saw the visions, these things became 
clear to me. The mummy cloths of symbol and of ceremony 
that wrap Osiris round fell from him, mid I understood the 
secret of religion, which is Sacrifice 



CLEOP XTRA 61 

The pictures passed, and again the priest, my guide, spoke 
to me. 

1 Hast thou understood, Harmachis, those things which it 
has been granted thee to see ? ' 

1 I have.' I said. ' Are the rites ended ? ' 

1 Nay, they are but begun. That which follows thou must 
endure alone ! Behold I leave thee, to return at the morning 
light. Once more I warn thee. That which thou shalt see, 
few may look upon and live. In all my days I have known 
but three who dared to face this dread hour, and of those 
three at dawn but one was found alive. Myself, I have not 
trod this path. It is too high for me.' 

1 Depart,' I said ; ' my soul is athirst for knowledge. I 
will dare it.' 

He laid his hand upon my head and blessed me. He went. 
I heard the door shut to behind him, the echoes of his foot- 
steps slowly died away. 

Then I felt that I was alone, alone in the Holy Place with 
Things which are not of the earth. Silence fell — silence deep 
and black as the darkness which was around me. The silence 
fell, it gathered as the cloud gathered on the face of the moon 
that night when, a lad, I prayed upon the pylon towers. It 
gathered denser and yet more dense till it seemed to creep 
into my heart and call aloud therein ; for utter silence has a 
voice that is more terrible than any cry. I spoke ; the echoes 
of my words came back upon me from the walls and seemed 
to beat me down. The stillness was lighter to endure than an 
echo such as this. What was I about to see ? Should I die, 
even now, in the fulness of my youth and strength ? Terrible 
were the warnings that had been given to me. I was fear- 
stricken, and bethought me that I would fly. Fly! — fly 
whither ? The temple door was barred ; I could not fly. I 
was alone with the Godhead, alone with the Power that I had 



62 CLEOPA TRA 

invoked. Nay, my heart was pure — my heart was pure . I 
would face the terror that was to come, ay, even though 1 
died. 

1 Isis, Holy Mother,' I prayed. ' Isis, Spouse of Heaven, 
come unto me, be with me now ; I faint ! be with me now.' 

And then I knew that things were not as things had been. 
The air around me began to stir, it rustled as the wings of 
eagles rustle, it took life. Bright eyes gazed upon me, 
strange whispers shook my soul. Upon the darkness were 
bars of light. They changed and interchanged, they moved 
to and fro and wove mystic symbols which I could not read. 
Swifter and swifter flew that shuttle of the light : the symbols 
grouped, gathered, faded, gathered yet again x faster and still 
more fast, till my eyes could count them no more. Now I 
was afloat upon a sea of glory ; it surged and rolled, as the 
ocean rolls ; it tossed me high, it brought me low. Glory 
was piled on glory, splendour heaped on splendour's head, 
and I rode above it all ! 

Soon the lights began to pale in the rolling sea of air. 
Great shadows shot across it, lines of darkness pierced it and 
rushed together on its breast, till, at length, I only was a 
Shape of Flame set like a star on the bosom of immea- 
surable night. Bursts of awful music gathered from far 
away. Miles and miles away I heard them, thrilling faintly 
through the gloom. On they came, nearer and more near, 
louder and more loud, till they swept past, above, below, around 
me, swept on rushing pinions, terrifying and enchanting me. 
They floated by, ever growing fainter, till they died in space. 
Then others came, and no two were akin. Some rattled as 
ten thousand sistra shaken all to tunc. Some rang from the 
brazen throats of unnumbered clarions. Some pealed with B 
loud, sweet chant of voices that were more than human ; and 
some rolled along in the slow thunder of a million drums. 



(II OPATRA 

Tiiev passed ; their notes were lost in dying echoes ; and the 
silence once more pressed in upon me and overcame me. 

The strength within me began to fail. I felt my life ebb- 
ing at its springs. Death drew near to me and his shape was 
Silence. He entered at my heart, entered with a sense of 
numbing cold, but my brain was still alive, I could yet think. 
I knew that I was drawing near the confines of the Dead. 
Nay, I was dying fast, and oh, the horror of it ! I strove to 
pray and could not ; there was no more time for prayer. One 
struggle and the stillness crept into my brain. The terror 
passed ; an unfathomable weight of sleep pressed me down. 
I was dying, I was dying, and then — nothingness ! 

I ivas dead ! 

A change — life came back to me, but between the new life 
and the life that had been was a gulf and difference. Once 
again I stood in the darkness of 6he shrine, but it blinded me 
no more. It was clear as the light of day, although it still 
was black. I stood ; and yet it was not I who stood, but 
rather my spiritual part, for at my feet lay my dead Self. 
There it lay, rigid and still, a stamp of awful calm sealed 
upon its face, while I gazed on it. 

And as I gazed, filled with wonder, I was caught up on the 
Wings of Flame and whirled away ! away ! faster than the 
lightnings flash. Down I fell, through depths of empty 
space set here and there with glittering crowns of stars. 
Down for ten million miles and ten times ten million, till at 
length I hovered over a place of soft unchanging light, wherein 
were Temples, Palaces, and Abodes, such as no man ever saw 
in the visions of his sleep. They were built of Flame, and 
they were built of Blackness. Their spires pierced up and 
up ; their great courts stretched around. Even as I hovered 
they changed continually to the eye ; what was Flame became 
Blackness, what was Blackness became Flame. Here was the 



64 C LEO PA TRA 

flash of crystal, and there the blaze of gems shone even 
through the glory that rolls around the city which is in the 
Place of Death. There were trees, and their voice as they 
rustled was the voice of music ; there was air, and, as it blew, 
its breath was the sobbing notes of song. 

Shapes, changing, mysterious, wonderful, rushed up to 
meet me, and bore me down till I seemed to stand upon 
another earth. 

1 Who comes ? ' cried a great Voice. 

1 Harmachis,' answered the Shapes, that changed con- 
tinually. ' Harmachis who hath been summoned from the 
earth to look upon the face of Her that Was and Is and Shall 
Be. Harmachis, Child of Earth ! ' 

1 Throw back the Gates and open wide the Doors ! ' pealed 
the awful Voice. ' Throw back the Gates and open wide the 
Doors ; seal up his lips in silence, lest his voice jar upon the 
harmonies of Heaven, take away his sight lest he see that 
which may not be seen, and let Harmachis, who hath been 
summoned, pass down the path that leads to the place of the 
Unchanging. Pass on, Child of Earth ; but before thou 
goest look up that thou mayest learn how far thou art removed 
from Earth.' 

I looked up. Beyond the glory that shone about the city 
was black night, and high on its bosom twinkled one tiny star. 

' Behold the world that thou has left,' said the Voice, 
1 behold and tremble.' 

Then my lips and eyes were touched and sealed with 
silence and with darkness, so that I was dumb and blind. 
The (laics rolled back, the Doors swung wide, and I was 
swept into the city that is in the Place of Death. I was swept 
swiftly I know not whither, till at length I stood upon my 
feet. Again the great Voice pealed : 

1 Draw the veil of blackness from his eyes, unseal the 



CLEOPA TRA 65 

silence on his lips, that Harmachis, Child of Earth, may see, 
hear, and understand, and make adoration at the Shrine of 
Her that Was and Is and Shall Be.' 

And my lips and eyes were touched once more, so that my 
sight and speech came back. 

Behold ! I stood within a hall of blackest marble, so lofty 
that even in the rosy light scarce could my vision reach the 
great groins of the roof. Music wailed about its spaces, and 
all adown its length stood winged Spirits fashioned in living 
fire, and such was the brightness of their forms that I could 
not look on them. In its centre was an altar, small and 
square, and I stood before the empty altar. Then again the 
Voice cried : 

1 Thou that hast been, art, and shalt be ; Thou who, 
having many names, art yet without a name ; Measurer of 
Time ; Messenger of God ; Guardian of the Worlds and the 
Races that dwell thereon ; Universal Mother born of Nothing- 
ness ; Creatrix uncreated ; Living Splendour without Form, 
Living Form without Substance ; Servant of the Invisible ; 
Child of Law ; Holder of the Scales and Sword of Fate ; 
Vessel of Life, through whom all Life flows, to whom it again 
is gathered ; Recorder of Things Done ; Executrix of Decrees 
— Hear ! 

' Harmachis the Egyptian, who by Thy will hath been 
summoned from the earth, waits before Thine Altar, with ears 
unstopped, with eyes unsealed, and with an open heart. Hear 
and descend ! Descend, Many-shaped ! Descend in Flame! 
Descend in Sound ! Descend in Spirit ! Hear and descend ! ' 

The Voice ceased and there was silence. Then through 
the silence came a sound like the booming of the sea. It 
passed and presently, moved thereto by I know not what, I 
raised my eyes from between my hands with which I had 



66 CLEOPATRA 

covered them, and saw a small dark cloud hanging over the 
Altar in and out of which a fiery Serpent climbed. 

Then all the Spirits clad in light fell upon the marble 
floor, and with a loud voice adored ; but what they said I could 
not understand. Behold ! the dark cloud came down and 
rested on the Altar, the Serpent of fire stretched itself towards 
me, touched me on the forehead with its forky tongue and 
was gone. From within the cloud a Voice sweet and low and 
clear spoke in heavenly accents : 

1 Depart, ye Ministers, leave Me with my son whom I have 
summoned.' 

Then like arrows rushing from a bow the flame-clad Spirits 
leapt from the ground and sped away. 

1 Harmachis,' said the Voice, ' be not afraid, I am She 
whom thou dost know as Isis of the Egyptians ; but what 
else I am strive not thou to learn, it is beyond thy strength. 
For I am all things, Life is my spirit, and Nature is my 
raiment. I am the laughter of the babe, I am the maiden's 
love, I am the mother's kiss. I am the Child and Servant of 
the Invisible that is God, that is Law, that is Fate — though 
myself I be not God and Fate and Law. When winds blow 
and oceans roar upon the face of Earth thou nearest my 
voice ; when thou gazest on the starry firmament thou seest 
my countenance ; when the spring blooms out in flowers, that 
is my smile, Harmachis. For I am Nature's self, and all her 
shapes are shapes of Me. I breathe in all that breathes. I 
wax and wane in the changeful moon : I grow and gather in 
the tides : I rise with the suns : I flash with the lightning 
and thunder in the storms. Nothing is too great for the 
measure of my majesty, nothing is so small that I cannot find 
a home therein. I am in thee and thou art in Me, 
Harmachis. That which bade thee be bade Me ;ilso be. There- 
fore, though T am great and thou art little, have no fear. 



CLKOPA TRA 67 

For we are bound together by the common bond of life — that 
life which flows through suns and stars and spaces, through 
Spirits and the souls of men, welding all Nature to a whole 
that, changing ever, is yet eternally the same.' 

I bowed my head — I could not speak, for I was afraid. 

' Faithfully hast thou served Me, my son,' went on 
the low sweet Voice ; ' greatly thou hast longed to be brought 
face to face with Me here in Amenti ; and greatly hast thou 
dared to accomplish thy desire. For it is no small thing to 
cast off the tabernacle of the Flesh and before the appointed 
time, if only for an hour, put on the raiment of the Spirit. 
And greatly, my servant and my son, have I, too, desired to 
look on thee here where I am. For the Gods love those who 
love them, but with a wider and a deeper love, and under One 
who is as far from Me as I am from thee, mortal, I am a 
God of Gods. Therefore I have caused thee to be brought 
hither, Harmachis ; and therefore I speak to thee, my son, and 
bid thee commune with Me now face to face, as thou didst 
commune that night upon the temple towers of Abouthis. 
For I was there with thee, Harmachis, as I was in ten thou- 
sand other worlds. It was 1, Harmachis, who laid the lotus 
in thy hand, giving thee the sign which thou didst seek. For 
thou art of the kingly blood of my children who served Me 
from age to age. And if thou dost not fail thou shalt sit upon 
that kingly throne and restore my ancient worship in its 
purity, and sweep my temples from their defilements. But if 
thou dost fail, then shall the eternal Spirit Isis become but a 
memory in Egypt : 

The Voice paused ; and, gathering up my strength, at length 
I spoke aloud : 

' Tell me, Holy,' I said, « shall I then fail ? ' 

1 Ask Me not,' answered the Voice, * that which it is not 
lawful that I should answer thee. Perchance I can read that 

F 2 



68 CLEOPATRA 

which shall befall thee, perchance it doth not please Me so to 
read. What can it profit the Divine, that hath all time where- 
in to await the issues, to be eager to look upon the blossom 
that is not blown, but which, lying a seed in the bosom of the 
earth, shall blow in its season ? Know, Harmachis, that I 
do not shape the Future ; the Future is to thee and not to Me ; 
for it is born of Law and of the rule ordained of the Invisible. 
Yet thou art free to act therein, and thou shalt win or thou 
shalt fail according to thy strength and the measure of thy 
heart's purity. Thine be the burden, Harmachis, as thine 
in the event shall be the glory or the shame. Little do I 
reck of the issue, I who am but the Minister of what is written. 
Now hear me : I will always be with thee, my son, for my 
love once given can never be taken away, though by sin it 
may seem lost to thee. Eemember then this : if thou dost 
triumph, thy guerdon shall be great ; if thou dost fail, heavy 
indeed shall be thy punishment both in the flesh and in the 
land that thou callest Amenti. Yet this for thy comfort : 
shame and agony shall not be eternal. For however deep the 
fall from righteousness, if but repentance holds the heart, 
there is a path — a stony and a cruel path — whereby the 
height may be climbed again. Let it not be thy lot to follow 
it, Harmachis ! 

' And now, because thou hast loved Me, my son, and, 
wandering through the maze of fable, wherein men lose 
themselves upon the earth, mistaking the substance for the 
Spirit, and the Altar for the God, hast yet grasped a clue of 
Truth the Many-faced; and because I love thee and look 
on to the day that, perchance, shall come when thou shalt 
dwell blessed in my light and in the doing of my tasks : 
because of this, I say, it shall be given to thee, Harmachis, 
to hear the Word whereby I may be summoned from the 
Uttermost, by one who hath communed with Me, and to Look 



CLEOPA TRA 69 

upon the face of Isis — even into the eyes of the Messenger, 
and not die the death. 

4 Behold ! ' 

The sweet Voice ceased ; the dark cloud upon the altar 
changed and changed — it grew white, it shone, and seemed 
at length to take the shrouded shape of woman. Then the 
golden Snake crept from its heart once more, and, like a living 
diadem, twined itself about the cloudy brows. 

Now suddenly a Voice called aloud the awful Word, 
then the vapours burst and melted, and with my eyes I saw 
that Glory, at the very thought of which my spirit faints. 
But what I saw it is not lawful to utter. For, though I have 
been bidden to write what I have written of this matter, per- 
chance that a record may remain, thereon I have been warned 
— ay, even now, after these many years. I saw, and what I 
saw cannot be imagined ; for there are Glories and there are 
Shapes which are beyond the reach of man's imagination. I 
saw — then, with the echo of that Word, and the memory 
of that sight stamped for ever on my heart, my spirit failed 
me, and I sank down before the Glory. 

And, as I fell, it seemed that the great hall burst open and 
crumbled into flakes of fire round me. Then a great wind 
blew : there was a sound as the sound of Worlds rushing 
down the flood of Time — and I knew no more ! 



7o 



CLEOPATRA 



CHAPTER VII. 

OF THE AWAKING OF HARMACHIS ; OF THE CEREMONY OF 
HIS CROWNING AS PHARAOH OF THE UPPER AND THE 
LOWER LAND ; AND OF THE OFFERINGS MADE TO 
PHARAOH. 



again I woke — to find myself 
stretched at length upon the stone 
flooring of the Holy Place of Isis 
that is at Abouthis. By me stood 
the old Priest of the Mysteries, 
and in his hand was a lamp. He bent 
over me, and gazed earnestly upon my 

B. 

' It is day— the day of thy new birth, 
and thou hast lived to see it, Harmachis ! ' 
he said at length. ' I give thanks. Arise, 
royal Harmachis — nay, tell me naught 
of that which has befallen thee. Arise, beloved of the 
Holy Mother. Come forth, thou who hast passed the fire 
and learned what lies behind the darkness — come forth, 
newly-born ! ' 

I rose and, walking faintly, went with him, and, passing 
out of the darkness of the Hhrines filled with thought and 
wonder, came once more into the pure light of the morning. 
And then I went to my own chamber and slept ; nor did any 
dreams come to trouble me. But no man — not even my 




CLEOPATRA 71 

fe-ther -asked me aught of what I saw upon that dread night, 
or after what fashion I had communed with the Goddess. • 

After these things which have been written, I applied my- 
self for a space to the worship of the Mother Isis, and to the 
further study of the outward forms of those mysteries to which 
I now held the key. Moreover, I was instructed in matters 
politic, for many great men of our following came secretly to 
see me from all quarters of Egypt, and told me much of the 
hatred of the people towards Cleopatra, the Queen, and of 
other things. At last the hour drew nigh ; it was three 
months and ten days from the night when, for a while, I left 
the flesh, and yet living with our life, was gathered to the 
breast of Isis, on which it was agreed that with due and cus- 
tomary rites, although in utter secrecy, I should be called to 
the throne of the Upper and the Lower Land. So it came 
about that, as the solemn time drew nigh, great men of the 
party of Egypt gathered to the number of thirty-seven from 
every nome, and each great city of their nome, meeting to- 
gether at Abouthis. They came in every guise— some as 
priests, some as pilgrims to the Shrine, and some as beggars. 
Among them was my uncle, Sepa, who, though he clad himself 
as a travelling doctor, had much ado to keep his loud voice 
from betraying him. Indeed, I myself knew him by it, 
meeting him as I walked in thought upon the banks of the 
canal, although it was then dusk and the great cape, which, 
after the fashion of such doctors, he had thrown about his 
head, half hid his face. 

1 A pest on thee ! ' he cried, when I greeted him by his 
name. ' Cannot a man cease to be himself for a single hour ? 
Didst thou but know the pains that it has cost me to learn to 
play this part — and now thou readest who I am even in the 
dark ! ' 

And then, still talking in his loud voice, he told me how 



72 CLEOPA TRA 

he had travelled hither on foot, the better to escape the spies 
who ply to and fro upon the river. But he said he should 
return by the water, or take another guise ; for since he had 
come as a doctor he had been forced to play a doctor's part, 
knowing but little of the arts of medicine ; and, as he greatly 
feared, there were many between Annu and Abouthis who 
had suffered from it. 1 And he laughed loudly and embraced 
me, forgetting his part. For he was too whole at heart to be 
an actor and other than himself, and would have entered 
Abouthis with me holding my hand, had I not chid him for 
his folly. 

At length all were gathered. 

It was night, and the gates of the temple were shut. 
None were left within them, except the thirty- seven ; my 
father, the High Priest Amenemhat ; that aged priest who 
had led me to the Shrine of Isis ; the old wife, Atoua, who, 
according to ancient custom, was to prepare me for the 
anointing ; and some five other priests, sworn to secrecy by 
that oath which none may break. They gathered in the 
second hall of the great temple ; but I remained alone, clad 
in my white robe, in the passage where are the names of six- 
and-seventy ancient Kings, who were before the day of the 
divine Sethi. There I rested in darkness, till at length my 
father, Amenemhat, came, bearing a lamp, and, bowing low 
before me, led me by the hand forth into the great hall. 
Here and there, between its mighty pillars, lights were burn- 
ing that dimly showed the sculptured images upon the walls, 
;i nil dimly fell upon the long line of the seven-and-thirty Lords, 
Priests, and Princes, who, seated upon carven chairs, awaited 
my coming in silence. Before them, facing away from the 
even Sanctuaries, a throne was set, around which stood the 

1 In Ancient Egypt an unskilful or negligent physician was liable to 
very heavy penalties. Ei>. 






CLEOPATRA 73 

priests holding the sacred images and banners. As I came 
into the dim and holy place, the Dignitaries rose, and bowed 
before me, speaking no word ; while my father led me to 
the steps of the throne, and in a low voice bade me stand 
before it. 

Then he spoke : 

' Lords, Priests, and Princes of the ancient orders of the 
land of Khem — Nobles from the Upper and the Lower 
Country, here gathered in answer to my summons, hear me : 
I present to you, with such scant formality as the occasion 
can afford, the Prince Harmachis, by right and true descent 
of blood the descendant and heir of the ancient Pharaohs of 
our most unhappy land. He is priest of the inmost circle of 
the Mysteries of the Divine Isis, Master of the Mysteries — 
Hereditary Priest of the Pyramids which are by Memphis, 
Instructed in the Solemn Rites of the Holy Osiris. Is there 
any among you who has aught to urge against the true line 
of his blood ? ' 

He paused, and my uncle, Sepa, rising from his chair, 
spoke : ■ We have made examination of the records and there 
is none, Amenemhat. He is of the Royal blood, his descent 
is true.' 

' Is there any among you,' went on my father, ' who can 
deny that this royal Harmachis, by sanction of the very Gods, 
has been gathered to Isis, been shown the way of the Osiris, 
been admitted to be the Hereditary High Priest of the 
Pyramids which are by Memphis, and of the Temples of the 
Pyramids ? ' 

Then that old priest rose who had been my guide in the 
Sanctuary of the Mother and made answer : ■ There is none ; 
Amenemhat; I know these things of my own knowledge.' 

Once more my father spoke : ' Is there any among you 
who has aught to urge against this royal Harmachis, in 



74 CLEOPA TRA 

that by wickedness of heart or life, by uncleanliness or falsity, 
it is not fit or meet that we should crown him Lord of all the 
Lands ? ' 

Then an aged Prince of Memphis arose and made answer : 

1 We have inquired of these matters : there is none, 
Amenemhat.' 

1 It is well,' said my father ; ' then naught is wanting in 
the Prince Harmachis, seed of Nekt-nebf, the Osirian. Let 
the woman Atoua stand forth and tell this company those 
things that came to pass when, at the hour of her death, she 
who was my wife prophesied over this Prince, being filled 
with the Spirit of the Hathors.' 

Thereon old Atoua crept forward from the shadow of the 
columns, and earnestly told those things that have been 
written. 

' Ye have heard,' said my father : ' do ye believe that 
the woman who was my wife spake with the Divine voice ? ' 

' We do,' they answered. 

Now my uncle Sepa rose and spoke : 

4 Royal Harmachis, thou hast heard. Know now that we 
are gathered here to crown thee King of the Upper and the 
Lower Lands — thy holy father, Amenemhat, renouncing all his 
right on thy behalf. We are met, not, indeed, in that pomp 
and ceremony which is due to the occasion — for what we do 
must be done in secret, lest our lives, and the cause that is 
more dear to us than life, should pay the forfeit— but yet with 
such dignity and observance of the ancient rites as our circum- 
stance may command. Learn, now, how this matter hangs, 
and if, after learning, thy mind consents thereto, then mount 
thy throne, Pharaoh — and swear the oath I 

* Long has Khemi groaned beneath the mailed heel of the 
Greek, and trembled at the shadow of the Roman's spear; 
long has the ancient worship of its Gods been desecrated, and 



CLEOPATRA 75 

its people crushed with oppression. But we believe that the 
hour of deliverance is at hand, and with the solemn voice of 
Egypt and by the ancient Gods of Egypt, to whose cause thou 
art of all men bound, we call upon thee, Prince, to be the 
sword of our deliverance. Hearken ! Twenty thousand good 
and leal men are sworn to wait upon thy word, and at thy 
signal to rise as one, to put the Grecian to the sword, and 
with their blood and substance to build thee a throne set more 
surely on the soil of Khem than are its ancient pyramids — such 
a throne as shall even roll the Roman legions back. And for 
the signal, it shall be the death of that bold harlot, Cleopatra. 
Thou must compass her death, Harmachis, in such fashion as 
shall be shown to thee, and with her blood anoint the Royal 
throne of Egypt. 

1 Canst thou refuse, our Hope ? Doth not the holy love 
of country swell within thy heart ? Canst thou dash the cup 
of Freedom from thy lips and bear to drink the bitter draught 
of slaves ? The emprise is great ; maybe it shall fail, and 
thou with thy life, as we with ours, shalt pay the price of our 
endeavour. But what of it, Harmachis ? Is life, then, so 
sweet ? Are we so softly cushioned on the stony bed of earth ? 
Is bitterness and sorrow in its sum so small and scant a thing? 
Do we here breathe so divine an air that we should fear to 
face the passage of our breath ? What have we here but 
hope and memory ? What see we here but shadows ? Shall 
we then fear to pass pure-handed where Fulfilment is and 
memory is lost in its own source, and shadows die in the light 
which cast them ? Harmachis, that man alone is truly blest 
who crowns his life with Fame's most splendid wreath. For, 
since to all the Brood of Earth Death hands his poppy- 
flowers, he indeed is happy to whom there is occasion given 
to weave them in a crown of glory. And how can a man die 
better than in a great endeavour to strike the gyves from his 



76 CLEOPA TRA 

Country's limbs so that she again may stand in the face of 
Heaven and raise the shrill shout of Freedom, and, clad once 
more in a panoply of strength, trample under foot the fetters 
of her servitude, defying the tyrant nations of the earth to set 
their seal upon her brow ? 

1 Khem calls thee, Harmachis. Come then, thou De- 
liverer ; leap like Horus from the firmament, break her 
chains, scatter her foes, and rule a Pharaoh on Pharaoh's 
Throne ' 

' Enough, enough ! ' I cried, while the long murmur of 
applause swept about the columns and up the massy walls. 
1 Enough ; is there any need to adjure me thus ? Had I a 
hundred lives, would I not most gladly lay them down for 
Egypt?' 

' Well said, well said ! ' answered Sepa. • Now go forth 
with the woman yonder, that she may make thy hands clean 
before they touch the sacred emblems, and anoint thy brow 
before it is encircled of the diadem.' 

And so I went into a chamber apart with the old wife, 
Atoua. There, muttering prayers, she poured pure water over 
my hands into a ewer of gold, and having dipped a fine cloth 
into oil wiped my brow with it. 

4 happy Egypt ! ' she said ; ' happy Prince, that art 
come to rule in Egypt ! Royal youth ! — too Royal to be a 
priest— so shall many a fair woman think ; but, perchance, for 
thee they will relax the priestly rule, else how shall the race 
of Pharaoh be carried on ? happy I, who dandled thee and 
gave my flesh and blood to save thee ! royal and beautiful 
Harmachis, born for splendour, happiness, and love !' 

' Cease, cease,' I said, for her talk jarred upon me ; ' call 
me not happy till thou knowest my end, and speak not to me 
of love, for with love conies sorrow, and mine is another and 
a higher way.' 



CLKOPA TRA 77 

Ay, ay, so thou sayest — and joy, too, that comes with 
love ! Never talk lightly of love, my King, for it brought thee 
here ! La ! la ! but it is always the way — " The goose on 
the wing laughs at crocodiles," so goes their saying down at 
Alexandria ; " but when the goose is asleep on the water, it is 
the crocodiles that laugh." Not but what women are pretty 
crocodiles. Men worship the crocodiles at Anthribis — Croco- 
dilopolis they call it now, don't they ? — but they worship 
women all the world over ! La ! how my tongue runs on, 
and thou about to be crowned Pharaoh ! Did I not prophesy 
it to thee? Well, thou art clean, Lord of the Double Crown. 
Go forth ! ' 

So I went from the chamber with the old wife's foolish talk 
ringing in my ears, though of a truth her folly had ever a 
grain of wit in it. 

As I came, the Dignitaries rose once more and bowed 
before me. Then my father,- without delay, drew near me, 
and placed in my hands a golden image of the divine Ma, 
the Goddess of Truth, and golden images of the arks of the 
God Amen-Ra, of the divine Mout, and the divine Khons, 
and spoke solemnly : 

I Thou swearest by the living majesty of Ma, by the majesty 
of Amen-Ra, of Mout, and of Khons ? ' 

I I swear,' I said. 

• Thou swearest by the holy land of Khem, oy Sihor's flood, 
by the Temples of the Gods and the eternal Pyramids ? ' 

1 1 swear.' 

' Remembering thy hideous doom if thou shouldst fail 
therein, thou swearest that thou wilt in all things govern 
Egypt according to its ancient laws, that thou wilt preserve 
the worship of its Gods, that thou wilt do equal justice, that 
thou wilt not oppress, that thou wilt not betray, that thou wilt 
make no alliance with the Roman or the Greek, that thou wilt 



78 CLEOPA TRA 

cast out the foreign Idols, that thou wilt devote thy life to the 
liberty of the land of Khem ? ' 

1 1 swear.' 

1 It is well. Mount, then, the throne, that in the presence 
of these thy subjects, I may name thee Pharaoh.' 

I mounted upon the throne, of which the footstool is a 
Sphinx, and the canopy the overshadowing wings of Ma. 
Then Amenemhat drew nigh once again and placed the Pshent 
upon my brow, and on my head the Double Crown, and the 
Eoyal Robe about my shoulders, and in my hands the Sceptre 
and the Scourge. 

' Royal Harmachis,' he cried, ' by these outward signs and 
tokens, I, the High Priest of the Temple of Ra-Men-Ma at 
Abouthis, crown thee Pharaoh of the Upper and Lower Land. 
Reign and prosper, Hope of Khemi ! ' 

' Reign and prosper, Pharaoh ! ' echoed the Dignitaries, 
bowing down before me. 

Then, one by one, they swore allegiance, till all had sworn. 
And, having sworn, my father took me by the hand ; he led 
me in solemn procession into each of the seven Sanctuaries 
that are in this Temple of Ra-Men-Ma, and in each I made 
offerings, swung incense, and officiated as priest. Clad in the 
Royal robes I made offerings in the Shrine of Horus, in the 
Shrine of Isis, in the Shrine of Osiris, in the Shrine of Amen- 
Ra, in the Shrine of Horemku, in the Shrine of Ptah, till at 
length I reached the Shrine of the King's Chamber. 

Here they made their offering to me, as the Divine Pharaoh, 
and left me very weary — but a King. 

[Here the first and smallest of the papyrus rolls comes to 
an end.] 




'I crown thee Pharaoh.. 



BOOK II. 

Zbe fall of Ibarmacbts 



Cl£OPATRA 



8j 



CHAPTER I. 

OP THE FAREWELL OF AMENEMHAT TO HARMACHIS ; OF THE 
COMING OF HARMACHIS TO ALEXANDRIA | OF THE EX- 
HORTATION OF SEPA ; OF THE PASSING OF CLEOPATRA 
ROBED AS ISIS J AND OF THE OVERTHROW OF THE 
GLADIATOR BY HARMACHIS. 




the long days of preparation had 
passed, and the time was at hand. 
I was initiated, and I was crowned ; 
so that although the common folk 
knew me not, or knew me only as 
Priest of Isis, there were in Egypt 
thousands who at heart bowed down 
to me as Pharaoh. The hour was 
at hand, and my soul went forth to 
meet it. For I longed to overthrow 
{'•&l, "' the foreigner, to set Egypt free, to mount the 
throne that was my heritage, and cleanse the temples of my 
Gods. I was fain for the struggle, and I never doubted of 
its end. I looked into the mirror, and saw triumph written 
on my brows. The future stretched a path of glory from my 
feet — ay, glittering with glory like Sihor in the sun. I com- 
muned with my Mother Isis ; I sat within my chamber and 
took counsel with my heart ; I planned new temples ; I re- 
volved great laws that I would put forth for my people's weal ; 

G 



82 CLEOPA TRA 

and in my ears rang the shouts of exultation which should 
greet victorious Pharaoh on his throne. 

But still I tarried a little while at Abouthis, and, having 
been commanded to do so, let my hair, that had been shorn, 
grow again long and black as the raven's wing, instructing 
myself meanwhile in all manly exercises and feats of arms. 
Also, for a purpose which shall be seen, I perfected myself in 
the magic art of the Egyptians, and in the reading of the 
stars, in which things, indeed, I already had great skill. 

Now, this was the plan that had been built up. My uncle 
Sepa had, for a while, left the Temple of Annu, giving out that 
his health had failed him. Thence he had moved down to 
a house in Alexandria, to gather strength, as he said, from 
the breath of the sea, and also to learn for himself the wonders 
of the great Museum and the glory of Cleopatra's Court. 
There it was planned that I should join him, for there, at 
Alexandria, the egg of the plot was hatching. Accordingly, 
when at last the summons came, all things being prepared, 
I made ready for the journey, and passed into my father's 
chamber to receive his blessing before I went. There sat the 
old man, as once before he sat when he had rebuked me be- 
cause I went out to slay the lion, his long white beard resting 
on the table of stone and sacred writings in his hand. When 
I came in he rose from his seat and would have knelt before 
me, crying ' Hail, Pharaoh ! ' but I caught him by the hand. 

' It is not meet, my father,' I said. 

' It is meet,' he answered, ' it is meet that I should bow 
before my King ; but be it as thou wilt. And so thou 
goest, Harmaohis ; my blessing go witli thee, my son ! 
And may Those whom I serve grant to me that my old < 
may, indeed, behold thee on the throne ! I have searched 
long, striving, Harmachis, to read the future that shall 
be ; but I can learn naught by all my wisdom. It is hid 



CLEOPA TRA 83 

from mo, and at times my heart fails. But hear this, 
there is danger in thy path, and it comes in the form of 
Woman. I have known it long, and therefore thou hast been 
called to the worship of the heavenly Isis, who bids her 
votaries put away the thought of woman till such time as 
she shall think well to slacken the rule. Oh, my son, I 
would that thou wert not so strong and fair — stronger and 
fairer, indeed, than any man in Egypt, as a King should be 
— for in that strength and beauty may lie a cause of stum- 
bling. Beware, then, of those witches of Alexandria, lest, like 
a worm, some one of them creep into thy heart and eat its 
secret out.' 

'Have no fear, my father,' I answered, frowning, 'my 
thought is set on other things than red lips and smiling eyes.' 

' It is good,' he answered ; ' so may it befall. And now 
farewell. When next we meet, may it be in that happy hour 
when, with all the priests of the Upper Land, I move down 
from Abouthis to do my homage to Pharaoh on his throne.' 

So I embraced him, and went. Alas ! I little thought 
how we should meet again. 

Thus it came about that once more I passed down the 
Nile travelling as a man of no estate. And to such as were 
curious about me it was given out that I was the adopted 
son of the High Priest of Abouthis, having been brought up 
to the priesthood, and that I had at the last refused the ser- 
vice of the Gods, and chosen to go to Alexandria, to seek my 
fortune. For, be it remembered, I was still held to be the 
grandson of the old wife, Atoua, by all those who did not 
know the truth. 

On the tenth night, sailing with the wind, we reached the 
mighty city of Alexandria, the city of a thousand lights. 
Above them all towered the white Pharos, that wonder of the 

o 2 



84 CLEOPA TRA 

world, from the crown of which a light like the light of the 
sun blazed out across the waters of the harbour to guide 
mariners on their way across the sea. The vessel having 
been cautiously made fast to the quay, for it was night, I 
disembarked and stood wondering at the vast mass of houses, 
and confused by the clamour of many tongues. For here all 
peoples seemed to be gathered together, each speaking after 
the fashion of his own land. And as I stood a young man 
came and touched me on the shoulder, asking me if I was 
from Abouthis and named Harmachis. I said 'Yea.' Then, 
bending over me, he whispered the secret pass-word into my 
ear, and, beckoning to two slaves, bade them bring my baggage 
from the ship. This they did, fighting their way through the 
crowd of porters who were clamouring for hire. Then I fol- 
lowed him down the quay, which was bordered with drinking- 
places, where all sorts of men were gathered, tippling wine 
and watching the dancing of women, some of whom were but 
scantily arrayed, and some not arrayed at all. 

And so we went through the lamp-lit houses till at last we 
reached the shore of the great harbour, and turned to the right 
along a wide way paved with granite and bordered by strong 
houses, having cloisters in front of them, the like of which I 
had never seen. Turning once more to the right we came to a 
quieter portion of the city, where, except for parties of strolling 
revellers, the streets were still. Presently my guide halted at a 
house built of white stone. We passed in, and, crossing a small 
courtyard, entered a chamber where there was a light. And 
here, at last, I found my uncle Sepa, most glad to see me sale. 

When I had washed and eaten, he told me that all thin 
went well, and that as yet there was no thought of evil at tin 
Court. Further, ho said, it having come to the ears of the 
Queen that the Priest of Annu was sojourning at Alexandria, 
she sent for him and closely questioned him — not as to any 



CLEOPATRA 85 

plot, for of that she never thought, but as to the rumour which 
had reached her, that there was treasure hid in the Great 
Pyramid which is by Annu. For, being ever wasteful, she was 
ever in want of money, and had bethought her of opening the 
Pyramid. But he laughed at her, telling her the Pyramid 
was the burying-place of the divine Khufu, and that he knew 
nothing of its secrets. Then she was angered, and swore 
that so surely as she ruled in Egypt she would tear it down, 
stone by stone, and discover the secret at its heart. Again 
he laughed, and, in the words of the proverb which they have 
here at Alexandria, told her that ' Mountains live longer than 
Kings.' Thereon she smiled at his ready answer, and let him 
go. Also my uncle Sepa told me that on the morrow I should 
see this Cleopatra. For it was her birthday (as, indeed, it 
was also mine), and, dressed in the robes of the Holy Isis, she 
would pass in state from her palace on the Lochias to the 
Serapeum to offer a sacrifice at the Shrine of the false God who 
sits in the Temple. And he said that thereafter the fashion by 
which I should gain entrance to the household of the Queen 
should be contrived. 

Then, being very weary, I went to rest, but could sleep 
little for the strangeness of the place, the noises in the streets, 
and the thought of the morrow. While it was yet dark, I 
rose, climbed the stair to the roof of the house, and waited. 
Presently, the sun's rays shot out like arrows, and lit upon 
the white wonder of the marble Pharos, whose light instantly 
sank and died, as though, indeed, the sun had killed it. 
Now the rays fell upon the palaces of the Lochias where 
Cleopatra lay, and lit them up till they flamed like a jewel 
set on the dark, cool bosom of the sea. Away the light flew, 
kissing the Soma's sacred dome, beneath which Alexander 
sleeps, touching the high tops of a thousand palaces and 
temples ; past the porticoes of the great museum that loomed 



86 CLEOPA TRA 

near at hand, striking the lofty Shrine, where, carved of ivory, 
is the image of the false God Serapis, and at last seeming to 
lose itself in the vast and gloomy Necropolis. Then, as the 
dawn gathered into day, the flood of brightness, overbrimming 
the bowl of night, flowed into the lower lands and streets, 
and showed Alexandria red in the sunrise as the mantle of a 
king, and shaped as a mantle. The Etesian wind came up 
from the north, and swept away the vapour from the harbours, 
so that I saw their blue waters rocking a thousand ships. I 
saw, too, that mighty mole the Heptastadium ; I saw the 
hundreds of streets, the countless houses, the innumerable 
wealth and splendour of Alexandria set like a queen between 
lake Mareotis and the ocean, and dominating both, and I was 
filled with wonder. This, then, was one city in my heritage 
of lands and cities ! Well, it was worth the grasping. And 
having looked my full and fed my heart, as it were, with the 
sight of splendour, I communed with the Holy Isis and came 
down from the roof. 

In the chamber beneath was my uncle Sepa. I told 
him that I had been watching the sun rise over the city of 
Alexandria. 

1 So ! ' he said, looking at me from beneath his shaggy 
eyebrows ; ' and what thinkest thou of Alexandria ? ' 

' I think it is like some city of the Gods,' I answered. 

1 Ay ! ' he replied fiercely, ' a city of the infernal Gods — 
a sink of corruption, a bubbling well of iniquity, a home of 
false faith springing from false hearts. I would that not one 
stone of it was left upon another stone, and that its wealth 
lay deep beneath yonder waters ! 1 would that the gulls woe 
screaming across its site, and that the wind, untainted by a 
Grecian breath, swept through its ruins from the ocean t<> 
Mareotis! royal Harmachis, let not the luxury and beauty 
of Alexandria poison thy sense; for in their deadly air, Faith 



CLEOPATRA 87 

perishes, and Religion cannot spread her heavenly wings. 
When the hour conies for thee to rule, Harmachis, cast down 
this accursed city and. as thy lathers did, set up thy throne 
in the white walls of Memphis. For I tell thee that, for 
Egypt, Alexandria is but a splendid gate of ruin, and, while it 
endures, all nations of the earth shall march through it, to 
the plunder of the land, and all false Faiths shall nestle in it 
and breed the overthrow of Egypt's Gods.' 

I made no answer, for there was truth in his words. And 
yet to me the city seemed very fair to look on. After we had 
eaten, my uncle told me it was now time to set out to view 
the march of Cleopatra, as she went in triumph to the Shrine 
of Serapis. For although she w T ould not pass till within two 
hours of the midday, yet these people of Alexandria have so 
great a love of shows and idling that had we not presently 
set forth, by no means could we have come through the press 
of the multitudes who were already gathering along the high- 
ways where the Queen must ride. So we went out to take 
our place upon a stand, built of timber, that had been set 
up at the side of the great road which pierces through the 
city, to the Canopic Gate. For my uncle had already pur- 
chased a right to enter there, and that dearly. 

We won our way with much struggle through the great 
crowds that were already gathered in the streets till we 
reached the scaffolding of timber, which was roofed in with an 
awning and gaily hung with scarlet cloths. Here we seated 
ourselves upon a bench and waited for some hours, watching 
the multitude press past shouting, singing, and talking loudly 
in many tongues. At length soldiers came to clear the road, 
clad, after the Roman fashion, in breast-plates of chain-armour. 
After them marched heralds enjoining silence (at which the 
populace sung and shouted all the more loudly), and crying 
that Cleopatra, the Queen, was coming. Then followed a 



88 CLEOPATRA 

thousand Cilician skirmishers, a thousand Thracians, a thou- 
sand Macedonians, and a thousand Gauls, each armed after 
the fashion of their country. Then passed five hundred men 
of those who are called the Fenced Horsemen, for both men 
and horses were altogether covered with mail. Next came 
youths and maidens sumptuously draped and wearing golden 
crowns, and with them images symbolising Day and Night, 
Morning and Noon, the Heavens and the Earth. After these 
walked many fair women, pouring perfumes on the road, and 
others scattering blooming flowers. Now there rose a great 
shout of ' Cleopatra ! Cleopatra ! ' and I held my breath and 
bent forward to see her who dared to put on the robes of Isis. 
But at that moment the multitude so gathered and thick- 
ened in front of where T was that I could no longer clearly 
see. So in my eagerness I leapt over the barrier of the 
scaffolding, and, being very strong, pushed my way through 
the crowd till I reached the foremost rank. And as I did so, 
Nubian slaves armed with thick staves and crowned with ivy- 
leaves ran up, striking the people. One man I noted more 
especially, for he was a giant, and, being strong, was insolent 
beyond measure, smiting the people without cause, as, indeed, 
is the wont of low persons set in authority. For a woman 
stood near to me, an Egyptian by her face, bearing a child in 
her arms, whom the man, seeing that she was weak, struck 
on the head with his rod so that she fell prone, and the people 
murmured. But at the sight my blood rushed of a sudden 
through my veins and drowned my reason. I held in my 
hand a staff of olive-wood from Cyprus, and as the black brute 
laughed at the sight of the stricken woman and her babe 
rolling on the ground, I swung the staff aloft and smote. So 
shrewdly did I strike, that the tough rod split upon the giant's 
shoulders and the blood spurted forth, staining his trailing 
leaves of ivy. 



CLEOPATRA 89 

Then, with a shriek of pain and fury — for those who 
smite love not that they be smitten — he turned and sprang 
at me ! And all the people round gave back, save only 
the woman who could not rise, leaving us two in a ring as it 
were. On he came with a rush, and, as he came, being now 
mad, I smote him with my clenched fist between the eyes, 
having nothing else with which to smite, and he staggered like 
an ox beneath the first blow of the priest's axe. Then the 
people shouted, for they love to see a fight, and the man was 
known to them as a gladiator victorious in the games. Gather- 
ing up his strength, the knave came on with an oath, and, 
whirling his heavy staff on high, struck at me in such a fashion 
that, had I not avoided the blow by nimbleness, I had surely 
been slain. But, as it chanced, the staff hit upon the ground, 
and so heavily that it flew in fragments. Thereon the multi- 
tude shouted again, and the great man, blind with fury, rushed 
at me to smite me down. But with a cry I sprang straight at 
his throat — for he was so heavy a man that I knew I could 
not hope to throw him by strength — ay, and gripped it. There 
I clung, though his fists battered me like bludgeons, driving 
my thumbs into his throat. Round and round we turned, till 
at length he flung himself to the earth, trusting thus to shake 
me off. But I held on fast as we rolled over and over on the 
ground, till at last he grew faint for want of breath. Then I, 
being uppermost, drove my knee down upon his chest, and, as 
I believe, should thus have slain him in my rage had not my 
uncle, and others there gathered, fallen upon me and dragged 
me from him. 

And meanwhile, though I knew it not, the chariot in which 
the Queen sat, with elephants going before and lions led after 
it, had reached the spot, and had been halted because of the 
tumult. I looked up, and thus torn, panting, my white 
garments stained with the blood that had rushed from the 



90 CLEOPA TRA 

mouth and nostrils of the mighty Nubian, I for the first time 
saw Cleopatra face to face. Her chariot was all of gold, and 
drawn by milk-white steeds. She sat in it with two fair 
girls, clad in Greek attire, standing one on either side, fanning 
her with glittering fans. On her head was the covering of 
Isis, the golden horns between which rested the moon's round 
disk and the emblem of Osiris' throne, with the urseus twined 
around. Beneath this covering was the vulture cap of gold, 
the blue enamelled wings and the vulture head with gemmy 
eyes, under which her long dark tresses flowed towards her 
feet. About her rounded neck was a broad collar of gold 
studded with emeralds and coral. Round her arms and wrists 
were bracelets of -gold studded with emeralds and coral, and in 
one hand she held the holy cross of Life fashioned of crystal, 
and in the other the golden rod of royalty. Her breast was 
bare, but under it was a garment that glistened like the scaly 
covering of a snake, everywhere sewn with gems. Beneath 
this robe was a skirt of golden cloth, half hidden by a scarf 
of the broidered silk of Cos, falling in folds to the sandals 
that, fastened with great pearls, adorned her white and tiny 
feet. 

All this I discerned at a glance, as it were. Then I 
looked upon the face — that face which seduced Caesar, ruined 
Egypt, and was doomed to give Octavian the sceptre of the 
world. I looked upon the flawless Grecian features, the 
rounded chin, the full, rich lips, the chiselled nostrils, and the 
ears fashioned like delicate shells. I saw the forehead, low, 
broad, and lovely, the crisped, dark hair falling in heavy 
waves that sparkled in the sun, the niched eyebrows, and the 
long, bent lashes. There before me was the grandeur of her 
Imperial shape. There burnt the wonderful eyes, lined like 
the Cyprian violet — eyes that seemed to sleep and brood 00 
secret things as night broods upon the desert, and \c( as the 




And thus I fc est time saw Cleopatra face to face 



CT.EOPA TRA 91 

night to shift, change, and be illumined by gleams of sudden 
splendour born within their starry depths. All those wonders 
I saw, though I have small skill in telling them. But even 
then I knew that it was not in these charms alone that the 
might of Cleopatra's beauty lay. It was rather in a glory and 
a radiance cast through the fleshly covering from the fierce 
soul within. For she was a Thing of Flame like unto which 
no woman has ever been nor ever will be. Even when she 
brooded, the fire of her quick heart shone through her. But 
when she woke, and the lightning leapt suddenly from her 
eyes, and the passion-laden music of her speech chimed upon 
her lips, ah ! then, who can tell how Cleopatra seemed ? For 
in her met all the splendours that have been given to woman 
for her glory, and all the genius which man has won from 
heaven. And with them dwelt every evil of that greater sort, 
which fearing nothing, and making a mock of laws, has 
taken empires for its place of play, and, smiling, watered the 
growth of its desires with the rich blood of men. In her 
breast they gathered, together fashioning that Cleopatra whom 
no man may draw, and yet whom no man, having seen, ever 
can forget. They fashioned her grand as the Spirit of Storm, 
lovely as Lightning, cruel as Pestilence, yet with a heart ; and 
what she did is known. Woe to the world when such another 
comes to curse it ! 

For a moment I met Cleopatra's eyes as she idly bent her- 
self to find the tumult's cause. At first they were sombre and 
dark, as though they saw indeed, but the brain read nothing. 
Then they awoke, and their very colour seemed to change as 
the colour of the sea changes when the water is shaken. 
First, there was anger written in them ; next an idle noting ; 
then, when she looked upon the huge bulk of the man whom 
I had overcome, and knew him for the gladiator, something, 
perchance, that was not far from wonder. At the least they 



92 CLEOPA TRA 

so#ened, though, indeed, her face changed no whit. But 
he who would read Cleopatra's mind had need to watch her 
eyes, for her countenance varied but a little. Turning, she 
said some word to her guards. They came forward and led 
me to her, while all the multitude waited silently to see me 
slain. 

I stood before her, my arms folded on my breast. Over- 
come though I was by the wonder of her loveliness I hated 
her in my heart, this woman who dared to clothe herself in 
the dress of Isis, this usurper who sat upon my throne, this 
wanton squandering the wealth of Egypt in chariots and 
perfumes. When she had looked me over from the head to 
the feet, she spake in a low full voice and in the tongue of 
Khemi which she alone had learned of all the Lagidae : 

4 And who and what art thou, Egyptian — for Egyptian I 
see thou art — who darest to smite my slave when I make 
progress through my city ? ' 

' I am Harmachis,' I answered boldly. ' Harmachis, the 
astrologer, adopted son of the High Priest and Governor of 
Abouthis, who am come hither to seek my fortune. I smote 
thy slave, Queen, because for no fault he struck down the 
woman yonder. Ask of those who saw, royal Egypt.' 

' Harmachis,' she said, 'the name has a high sound — and 
thou hast a high look ; ' and then, speaking to a soldier who 
had seen all, she bade him tell her what had come to pass. 
This he did truthfully, being friendly disposed towards me 
because I had overcome the Nubian. Thereon she turned and 
spoke to the girl bearing the fan who stood beside her — a 
woman with curling hair and shy dark eyes, very beautiful 
to see. The girl answered somewhat. Then Cleopatra bade 
them bring the slave to her. So they led forward the giant, 
who had found his breath again, and with him the woman 
whom he had smitten down. 



CLEOPATRA 93 

4 Thou dog ! ' Bhe .said, 111 the same low voice ; ' tljou 
coward ! who, being strong, didst smite down this woman, and, 
being a coward, wast overthrown of this young man. See, 
thou, I will teach thee maimers. Henceforth, when thou 
smitest women it shall be with thy left arm. Ho, guards, 
seize this black slave and strike off his right hand.' 

Her command given, she sank back in her golden chariot, 
and again the cloud gathered in her eyes. But the guards 
seized the giant, and, notwithstanding his cries and prayers 
for mercy, struck off his hand w r ith a sword upon the 
wood of the scaffolding and he was carried away groaning. 
Then the procession moved on again. As it went the fair 
woman with the fan turned her head, caught my eye, and 
smiled and nodded as though she rejoiced, at w 7 hich I wondered 
somewhat. 

The people cheered also and made jests, saying that I 
should soon practise astrology in the palace. But, as soon as 
w r e might, I and my uncle escaped, and made our way back to 
the house. All the while he rated me for my rashness ; but 
when we came to the chamber of the house he embraced 
me and rejoiced greatly, because I had overthrown the giant 
with so little hurt to myself. 



94 



CLEOPA TRA 



CHAPTER II. 

OF THE COMING OF CHARMION | AND OF THE 
WRATH OF SEPA. 




■* *^MCI^lX^^^^B HAT same night, while we sat at 

's-;.. .^',: lB| supper in the house, there came a 
■ 
Pilll iBBfefi knock upon the door. It was 

opened, and a woman passed in 
wrapped from head to foot in a 
large dark peplos or cloak in such 
fashion that her face could not be 
clearly seen. 

My uncle rose, and as he did so 
the woman uttered the secret word. 

1 1 am come, my father,' she said 
in a sweet clear voice, ' though of a 
truth it was not easy to escape the revels at the palace yonder. 
But I told the Queen that the sun and the riot in the streets 
had made me sick, and she let me go.' 

' It is well,' he answered. ' Unveil thyself ; here thou art 
safe.' 

With a little sigh of weariness she unclasped the peplos 
and let it slip from her, giving to my sight the face and form 
of that beauteous girl who had stood to fan Cleopatra in the 
chariot. For she was very fair and pleasant to look upon, 
and her Grecian robes clung sweetly about her supple limbs 
and budding form. Her wayward hair, flowing in a hundred 



CLEOPA TRA 95 

little curls, was bound in with a golden fillet, and on her feet 
were sandals fastened with studs of gold. Her cheeks blushed 
like a flower, and her dark soft eyes were downcast, as though 
with modesty, but smiles and dimples trembled about her lips. 

My uncle frowned when his eyes fell upon her dress." 

1 Why comest thou in this garb, Charmion ? ' he asked 
sternly. ' Is not the dress thy mothers w T ore good enough for 
thee ? This is no time or place for woman's vanities. Thou 
art not here to conquer, but to obey.' 

1 Nay, be not wroth, my father,' she answered softly ; 
' perchance thou knowest not that she whom I serve will have 
none of our Egyptian dress ; it is out of fashion. To wear it 
would have been to court suspicion — also I came in haste.' And 
as she spoke I saw that all the while she watched me covertly 
through the long lashes which fringed her modest eyes. 

' Well, well,' he said sharply, fixing his keen glance upon 
her face, ■ doubtless thou speakest truth, Charmion. Be ever 
mindful of thy oath, girl, and of the cause to which thou art 
sworn. Be not light-minded, and I charge thee forget the 
beauty with which thou hast been cursed. For mark thou this, 
Charmion : fail us but one jot, and vengeance shall fall on thee 
— the vengeance of man and the vengeance of the Gods ! To 
this service,' he continued, lashing himself to anger as he went 
on till his great voice rang in the narrow room, ' thou hast 
been bred ; to this end thou hast been instructed and placed 
where thou art to gain the ear of that wicked wanton whom 
thou seemest to serve. See thou forget it not ; see that the 
luxury of yonder Court does not corrupt thy purity and divert 
thy aim, Charmion,' and his eyes flashed and his small form 
seemed to grow till it attained to dignity — nay, almost to 
grandeur. 

' Charmion,' he went on, advancmg towards her with 
outstretched finger, ' I say that at times I do not trust thee. 



96 CLEOPA TRA 

But two nights gone I dreamed I saw thee standing in 
the desert. I saw thee laugh and lift thy hand to heaven, 
and from it fell a rain of blood ; then the sky sank down on 
the land of Khem and covered it. Whence came the dream, 
girl, and what is its meaning ? I have naught against thee 
as yet ; but hearken ! On the moment that I have, though 
thou art of my kin, and I have loved thee — on that moment, 
I say, I will doom those delicate limbs, which thou lovest 
so much to show, to the kite and the jackal, and the sou] 
within thee to all the tortures of the Gods ! Unburied shalt 
thou lie, and bodiless and accursed shalt thou wander in 
Amenti ! — ay, for ever and ever ! ' 

He paused, for his sudden burst of passion had spent 
itself. But by it, more clearly than before, I saw how deep a 
heart this man had beneath the cloak of his merriness and 
simplicity of mien, and how fiercely the mind within him was 
set upon his aim. As for the girl, she shrank from him terrified, 
and, placing her hands before her sweet face, began to weep. 

' Nay, speak not so, my father,' she said, between her 
sobs ; ' for what have I done ? I know nothing of the evil 
wandering of thy dreams. I am no soothsayer that I should 
read dreams. Have I not carried out all things according to 
thy desire ? Have I not ))een ever mindful of that dread 
oath ? ' — and she trembled. ' Have I not played the spy and 
told thee all ? Have I not won the heart of the Queen, so that 
she loves me as a sister, refusing me nothing — ay, and the 
hearts of those about her ? Why dost thou affright me thus 
with thy words and threats ? ' and she wept afresh, looking 
even more beautiful in her sorrow than she was before. 

'Enough, enough,' ho answered; 'what I have said. I 
have said. Be warned, and affront our sight no more with 
this wanton dress. Thinkcst thou that we would feed our 
eyes upon those rounded arms — we whose stake is Egypt and 



CLEOPATRA 97 

who are dedicated to the Gods of Egypt? Girl, behold thy 
cousin and thy King ! ' 

She ceased weeping, wiping her eyes with her chiton, and 
I saw that they seemed but the softer for her tears. 

1 Methinks, most royal Harmachis and beloved Cousin,' 
she said, as she bent before me, ' that we are already made 
acquainted.' 

1 Yea, Cousin,' I answered, not without shamefacedness, 
for I had never before spoken to so fair a maid ; ' thou wert in 
the chariot with Cleopatra this day when I struggled with the 
Nubian ? ' 

1 Assuredly,' she said, with a smile and a sudden lighting 
of the eyes, ' it was a gallant fight and gallantly didst thou 
overthrow that black brute. I saw the fray and, though I 
knew thee not, I greatly feared for one so brave. But I paid 
him for my fright, for it w T as I who put it into the mind of 
Cleopatra to bid the guards strike off his hand — now, knowing 
who thou art, I would I had said his head.' And she looked 
up shooting a glance at me and then smiled. 

'Enough,' put in my uncle Sepa, 'the time draws on. 
Tell thou thy mission, Charmion, and be gone.' 

Then her manner changed ; she folded her hands meekly 
before her and spoke : 

1 Let Pharaoh hearken to his handmaiden. I am the 
daughter of Pharaoh's uncle, the brother of his father, who is 
now long dead, and therefore in my veins also flow T s the Royal 
blood of Egypt. Also I am of the ancient Faith, and hate 
these Greeks, and to see thee set upon the throne has been my 
dearest hope now for many years. To this end I, Charmion, 
have put aside my rank and become serving-woman to 
Cleopatra, that I might cut a notch in which thou couldst set 
thy foot when the hour came for thee to climb the throne. And, 
Pharaoh, the notch is cut. 

H 



98 CLEOPA TRA 

1 This then is our plot, royal Cousin. Thou must gain 
an entrance to the Household and learn its ways and secrets, 
and, so far as maybe, suborn the eunuchs and captains, some 
of whom I have already tempted. This done, and all things 
being prepared without, thou must slay Cleopatra, and, aided 
by me with those whom I control, in the confusion that shall 
ensue, throw wide the gates, and, admitting those of our party 
who are in waiting, put such of the troops as remain faithful 
to the sword and seize the Bruchium , Which being finished, 
within two days thou shalt hold this fickle Alexandria. At 
the same time those who are sworn to thee in every city in 
Egypt shall rise in arms, and in ten days from the death 
of Cleopatra thou shalt indeed be Pharaoh. This is the coun- 
sel which has been taken, and thou seest, royal Cousin, that, 
though our uncle yonder thinks so ill of me, I have learned 
my part — ay, and played it.' 

' I hear thee, Cousin,' I answered, marvelling that so young 
a woman — she had but twenty years — could weave so bold a 
plot, for in its origin the scheme was hers. But in those days 
I little knew Charmion. 'Go on ; how then shall I gain 
entrance to the palace of Cleopatra ? ' 

' Nay, Cousin, as things are it is easy. Thus : Cleopatra 
loves to look upon a man, and — give me pardon — thy face 
and form are fair. To-day she noted them, and twice she 
said she would she had asked where that astrologer might be 
found, for she held that an astrologer who could wellnigh 
slay a Nubian gladiator with his bare hands, must indeed be a 
master of the fortunate stars. I answered her that I would 
cause inquiry to be made. So hearken, royal llarmachis. At 
midday Cleopatra sleeps in her inner hall which looks over the 
gardens to the harbour. At that hour to-morrow, then, I will 
meet thee ;tt the gates of the palace, whither thou shalt come 
boldly asking for the Lady Charmion. I will make appointment 




'iiiit* 



CLEOPATRA 99 

tor thee with Cleopatra, so that she shall see thee alone when 
she wakes, and the rest shall be for thee, Harmachis. For 
much she loves to play with the mysteries of magic, and I have 
known her stand whole nights watching the stars and making 
a pretence to read them. And but lately she has sent away 
Dioscorides the physician, because, poor fool ! he ventured on 
a prophecy from the conjunction of the stars, that Cassius 
would defeat Mark Antony. Thereon Cleopatra sent orders to 
the General Allienus, bidding him add the legions she had 
sent to Syria to help Antony to the army of Cassius, whose 
victory, forsooth, was — according to Dioscorides — written on 
the stars. But, as it chanced, Antony beat Cassius first and 
Brutus afterwards, and so Dioscorides has departed, and now 
he lectures on herbs in the museum for his bread, and hates 
the name of stars. But his place is empty, and thou shalt fill 
it, and then we will work in secret and in the shadow of the 
sceptre. Ay, we will work like the worm at the heart of a 
fruit, till the time of plucking comes, and at thy dagger's 
touch, royal Cousin, the fabric of this Grecian throne crumbles 
to nothingness, and the worm that rotted it bursts his servile 
covering, and, in the sight of empires, spreads his royal wings 
o'er Egypt.' 

I gazed at this strange girl once more astonished, and saw 
that her face was lit up with such a light as I had never seen 
in the eyes of woman. 

' Ah,' broke in my uncle, who was watching her, 'ah, I 
love to see thee so, girl ; there is the Charmion that I knew 
and I bred up — not the Court girl whom I like not, draped 
in silks of Cos and fragrant with essences. Let thy heart 
harden in this mould — ay, stamp it with the fervid zeal of pa- 
triot faith, and thy reward shall find thee. And now cover up 
that shameless dress of thine and leave us, for it grows late. 

h 2 



ioo CLEOPATRA 

To-morrow Harmachis shall come, as thou hast said, and so 
farewell.' 

Charmion bowed her head, and, turning, wrapped her 
dark-hued peplos round her. Then, taking my hand, she 
touched it with her lips and went without any further word. 

1 A strange woman ! ' said Sepa, when she had gone ; ' a 
most strange woman, and an uncertain ! ' 

' Methought, my uncle,' I said, ' that thou wast somewhat 
harsh with her.' 

1 Ay,' he answered, ' but not without a cause. Look thou, 
Harmachis : beware of this Charmion. She is too wayward, 
and, I fear me, may be led away. In truth, she is a very 
woman ; and, like a restive horse, will take the path that 
pleases her. She has brain and fire, and she loves our cause; 
but I pray that the cause come not face to face with her de- 
sires, for what her heart is set on that will she do, at any cost 
she will do it. Therefore I frightened her now while I may : 
for who can know but that she will pass beyond my power ? 
I tell thee, that in this one girl's hand lie all our lives : and 
if she play us false, what then ? Alas ! and alas ! that we 
must use such tools as these ! But it was needful : there was 
no other way ; and yet I misdoubt me. I pray that it may 
be well; still, at times, I fear my niece Charmion— she is 
too fair, and the blood of youth runs too warm in those blue 
veins of hers. 

'Ah, woe to the cause that builds its strength upon a 
woman's faith; for women are faithful only where they 
love, and when they love their faithlessness becomes their 
faith. They are not fixed as men are fixed: they ris< 
more high and sink more Low — they are Btrong and changeful 
as the sea. Harmachis, beware of this Charmion: for, lik< 
the ocean, she may float thee home; or, like the ocean, she 
may wreck thee, and, with thee, the hope of Egypt ! ' 



CLEOPA TRA 



101 



CHAPTER III. 

of the coming of harmachis to the palace ; of how 
he drew paulus through the gates; of cleopatra 
sleeping; and of the magic of harmachis which 
he showed her. 



BfflK ) HUS it came to pass that on the next 
day I arrayed myself in a long and 
flowing robe, after the fashion of a 
magician or astrologer. I placed a 
cap on my head, about which were 
broidered images of the stars, and 
in my belt a scribe's palette and a 
roll of papyrus written over with 
mystic spells and signs. In my 
hand I held a wand of ebony, 
tipped with ivory, such as is used 
by priests and masters of magic. Among 
these, indeed, I took high rank, filling by knowledge of their 
secrets which I had learned at Annu what I lacked in that 
skill which comes from use. And so with no small shame, 
for 1 love not such play and hold this common magic in con- 
tempt, I set forth through the Bruchium to the palace on the 
Lochias, being guided on my way by my uncle Sepa. At 
length, passing up the avenue of sphinxes, we came to the 
great marble gateway and the gates of bronze, within which 




102 CLEOPATRA 

is the guard-house. Here rny uncle left me, breathing many 
prayers for my safety and success. But I advanced with an 
easy air to the gate, where I was roughly challenged by the 
Gallic sentries, and asked of my name, following, and busi- 
ness. I gave my name, Harmachis, the astrologer, saying 
that my business was with the Lady Charmion, the Queen's 
lady. Thereon the man made as though to let me pass in, 
when a captain of the guard, a Eoman named Paulus, came 
forward and forbade it. Now, this Paulus was a large limbed 
man, with a woman's face, and a hand that shook from wine- 
bibbing. Still he knew me again. 

' Why,' he cried, in the Latin tongue, to one who came 
with him, ' this is the fellow who wrestled yesterday with the 
Nubian gladiator, that same who now howls for his lost hand 
underneath my window. Curses on the black brute ! I had 
a bet upon him for the games ! I have backed him against 
Caius, and now he'll never fight again, and I must lose my 
money, all through this astrologer. What is it thou sayest ? — 
thou hast business with the Lady Charmion ? Nay, then, 
that settles it. I will not let thee through. Fellow, I wor- 
ship the Lady Charmion— ay, we all worship her, though 
she gives us more slaps than sighs. And dost thou think 
that we will suffer an astrologer with such eyes and such 
a chest as thine to cut in the game ? — by Bacchus, no ! 
She must come out to keep the tryst, for in thou shalt not go.' 

1 Sir,' I said humbly and yet with dignity, ' I pray that a 
message may be sent to the Lady Charmion, for my business 
will not brook delay.' 

' Ye Gods ! ' answered the fool, ' whom have we here that 
be cannot wait ? A Oaesar in disguise? Nay, be off — be off! 
it' thou wouldst not learn how a spear-prick feels behind.' 

1 Nay,' put in the other officer, ' he is an astrologer ; make 
liim prophesy make him play tricks. 




d bin with m; ' co. after me 



CLEOPATRA 103 

' Ay,' cried the others who had sauntered up, ' let the fellow 
show his art. If he is a magician he can pass the gates, 
Paulas or no Paulus.' 

1 Right willingly, good Sirs,' I answered ; for I saw no 
other means of entering. 'Wilt thou, my young and noble 
Lord ' — and I addressed him who was with Paulus — ' suffer that 
I look thee in the eyes ; perhaps I may read what is written 
there ? ' 

1 Right,' answered the youth ; * but I wish that the Lady 
Charmion was the sorceress. I would stare her out of counte- 
nance, I warrant.' 

I took him by the hand and gazed deep into his eyes. ' I 
see,' I said, ' a field of battle at night, and about it bodies 
stretched — among them is thy body, and a hyena tears its 
throat. Most noble Sir, thou shalt die by sword-thrusts 
within a year.' 

'By Bacchus ! ' said the youth, turning white to the gills, 
* thou art an ill-omened sorcerer ! ' And he slunk off — shortly 
afterwards, as it chanced, to meet this very fate. For he was 
sent on service and slain in Cyprus. 

1 Now for thee, great Captain ! ' I said, speaking to Paulus. 
1 I will show thee how I will pass those gates without thy 
leave — ay, and draw thee through them after me. Be pleased 
to fix thy princely gaze upon the point of this wand in my 
hand.' 

Being urged by his comrades he did this, unwillingly ; and 
I let him gaze till I saw his eyes grow empty as an owl's 
eyes in the sun. Then I suddenly withdrew the wand, and, 
shifting my countenance into the place of it, I seized him 
with my will and stare, and, beginning to turn round and 
round, drew him after me, his fierce drawn face fixed, as it 
were, almost to my own. Then I moved slowly backwards 
till I had passed the gates, still drawing him after me, and 



104 CLEOPA TRA 

suddenly jerked my head away. He fell to the ground, to 
rise wiping his brow and looking very foolish. 

1 Art thou content, most noble Captain ? ' I said. ' Thou 
seest we have passed the gates. Would any other noble Sir 
wish that I should show more of my skill ? ' 

1 By Taranis, Lord of Thunder, and all the Gods of 
Olympus thrown in, no ! ' growled an old Centurion, a Gaul 
named Brennus, ' I like thee not, I say. The man who could 
drag our Paulus through those gates by the eye, as it were, is 
not a man to play with. Paulus, too, who always goes the way 
you don't want him — backwards, like an ass — Paulus ! Why, 
sirrah, thou needst must have a woman in one eye and a wine- 
cup in the other to draw our Paulus thus.' 

At this moment the talk was broken, for Charmion her- 
self came down the marble path, followed by an armed slave. 
She walked calm and carelessly, her hands folded behind her, 
and her eyes gazing at nothingness, as it were. ^But it was 
when Charmion thus looked upon nothing that she saw most. 
And as she came the officers and men of the guard made way 
for her bowing, for, as I learned afterwards, this girl, next to 
Cleopatra's self, wielded more power than anyone about the 
palace. 

' What is this tumult, Brennus? ' she said, speaking to the 
Centurion, and making as if she saw me not ; ' knowest thou 
not that the Queen sleeps at this hour, and if she be awakened 
it is thou who must answer for it, and that dearly ? ' 

' Nay, Lady,' said the Centurion, humbly ; ' but it is thus. 
We have here '—and he jerked his thumb towards me 'a 
magician of the most pestilent — um, I crave his pardon — of the 
xcaj best sort, for he hath but just now, only by placing his 

\ close to the nose of the worthy Captain Paulus, dragged 
him, the said Paulus, through the gates that Paulus swore the 
magician should not pass. By the s;une token, Linlv, the 



CLEOPATRA 105 

magician says that be has business with you — which grieves 
me lor your sake' 

Charmion turned and looked at me carelessly. 'Ay, I 
remember,' she said; 'and so he has — at least, the Queen 
would Bee his tricks ; but if he can do none better than cause 
.1 sot ' — here she cast a glance of scorn at the wondering 
Paulas — ' to follow his nose through the gates he guards, he 
had better go whence he came. Follow me, Sir Magician ; and 
for thee, Brennus, I say, keep thy riotous crew more quiet. 
For thee, most honourable Paulus, get thee sober, and next 
time I am asked for at the gates give him who asks a hear- 
ing.' And, with a queenly nod of her small head, she turned 
and led the way, followed at a distance by myself and the 
armed slave. 

We passed up the marble walk which runs through the 
garden grounds, and is set on either side with marble statues, 
for the most part of heathen Gods and Goddesses, with which 
these Lagidse were not ashamed to defile their royal dwellings. 
At length we came to a beautiful portico with fluted columns 
of the Grecian style of art, where we found more guards, who 
made way for the Lady Charmion. Crossing the portico we 
reached a marble vestibule where a fountain splashed softly, 
and thence by a low doorway a second chamber, known as 
the Alabaster Hall, most beautiful to see. Its roof was up- 
held by light columns of black marble, but all its walls were 
panelled with alabaster, on which Grecian legends were en- 
graved. Its floor was of rich and many-hued mosaic that 
told the tale of the passion of Psyche for the Grecian God of 
Love, and about it were set chairs of ivory and gold. Charmion 
bade the armed slave stay at the doorway of this chamber, 
so that we passed in alone, for the place was empty except for 
two eunuchs who stood with drawn swords before the curtain 
at the further end. 



106 CLEOPATRA 

1 1 am vexed, my Lord,' she said, speaking very low and 
shyly, ' that thou shouldst have met with such affronts at the 
gate ; but the guard there served a double watch, and I had 
given my commands to the officer of the company that should 
have relieved it. Those Roman officers are ever insolent, who, 
though they seem to serve, know well that Egypt is their 
plaything. But it is not amiss, for these rough soldiers are 
superstitious, and will fear thee. Now bide thou here while 
I go into Cleopatra's chamber, where she sleeps. I have but 
just sung her to sleep, and if she be awake I will call thee, 
for she waits thy coming.' And without more words she 
glided from my side. 

In a little time she returned, and coming to me spoke : 

' Wouldst see the fairest woman in all the world, asleep ? ' 
she whispered ; ' if so, follow me. Nay, fear not ; when she 
awakes she will but laugh, for she bade me be sure to bring 
thee instantly, whether she slept or woke. See, I have her 
signet.' 

So we passed up the beautiful chamber till we came to 
where the eunuchs stood with drawn swords, and these would 
have barred my entry. But Charmion frowned, and drawing 
the signet from her bosom held it before their eyes. Having 
examined the writing that was on the ring, they bowed, drop- 
ping their sword points and we passed through the heavy 
curtains broidered with gold into the resting-place of Cleo- 
patra. It was beautiful beyond imagining — beautiful with 
many coloured marbles, with gold and ivory, gems and flow( ira 
—all art can furnish and all luxury can dream of were hoc 
Here were pictures so real that birds might have pecked the 
painted fruits ; here were statues of woman's loveliness frozen 
into stone ; here wen; draperies fine as softest silk, but woven 
of a web of gold; here were couches and carpets such 
I never saw. The air, too, was sweet with perfume, while 



CLEOPA TRA 107 

through the open window places came the far murmur of the 
sea. And at the further end of the chamber, on a couch of 
gleaming silk and sheltered by a net of finest gauze, Cleopatra 
lav asleep. There she lay — the fairest thing that man ever 
saw — fairer than a dream, and the web of her dark hair flowed 
all about her. One w T hite, rounded arm made a pillow for 
her head, and one hung down towards the ground. Her rich 
lips were parted in a smile, showing the ivory lines of teeth ; 
and her rosy limbs were draped in so thin a robe of the silk of 
Cos, held about her by a jewelled girdle, that the white gleam 
of flesh shone through it. I stood astonished, and though my 
thoughts had little bent that way, the sight of her beauty 
struck me like a blow, so that for a moment I lost myself as 
it were in the vision of its power, and was grieved at heart 
because I must slay so fair a thing. 

Turning suddenly from the sight, I found Charmion 
watching me w T ith her quick eyes — watching as though she 
would search my heart. And, indeed, something of my thought 
must have been written on my face in a language that she 
could read, for she whispered in my ear : 

' Ay, it is pity, is it not ? Harmachis, being but a man, 
methinks that thou wilt need all thy ghostly strength to nerve 
thee to the deed ! ' 

I frow T ned, but before I could frame an answer she touched 
me lightly on the arm and pointed to the Queen. A change 
had come upon her : her hands were clenched, and about her 
face, all rosy with the hue of sleep, gathered a cloud of fear. 
Her breath came quick, she raised her arms as though to ward 
away a blow, then with a stifled moan sat up and opened the 
windows of her eyes. They were dark, dark as night ; but 
when the light found them they grew blue as the sky grows 
blue before the blushing of the dawn. 

1 Caesarion ? ' she said ; ' where is my son Caasarion ? — 



108 CLEOPATRA 

Was it then a dream ? I dreamed that Julius — Julius who is 
dead — came to me, a bloody toga wrapped about his face, and 
having thrown his arms about his child led him away. Then 
I dreamed I died— died in blood and agony ; and one I might 
not see mocked me as I died ! Ah /—who is that man ? ' 

' Peace, Madam ! peace ! ' said Charmion. ' It is but the 
magician Harmachis, whom thou didst bid me bring to thee at 
this hour.' 

I Ah ! the magician — that Harmachis who overthrew the 
giant? I remember now. He is welcome. Tell me, Sir 
Magician, can thy magic mirror forth an answer to this dream ? 
Nay, how strange a thing is Sleep, that wrapping the mind in 
a web of darkness, straightly compels it to its will ! Whence, 
then, come those images of fear rising on the horizon of the 
soul like some untimely moon upon a midday sky? Who 
grants them power to stalk so lifelike from Memory's halls, 
and, pointing to their wounds, thus confront the Present with 
the Past? Are they, then, messengers? Does the half- 
death of sleep give them foothold in our brains, and thus 
upknit the cut thread of human kinship ? That was Caesar's 
self, I tell thee, who but now stood at my side and murmured 
through his muffled robe warning words of which the memory 
is lost to me. Read me this riddle, thou Egyptian Sphinx, 1 
and I'll show thee a rosier path to fortune than all thy stars 
can point. Thou hast brought the omen, solve thou its 
problem.' 

I I come in a good hour, most mighty Queen,' I answered, 
'for I have some skill in the mysteries of Sleep, that is, as 
thou hast rightly guessed, a stair by which those who are 
gathered to Osiris may from time fco time enter at the gati 
ways of our living sense, and, by signs and words that can be 

1 Alluding to Ins name. Barmaohis was the Grecian title of the 
divinity of the Sphinx, b Soremkhu was the Egyptian. Ed. 



CLEOPATRA 109 

read of instructed mortals, repeat the echoes of that Hall of 
Truth which is their habitation. Yes, Sleep is a stair by 
-which the messengers of the guardian Gods may descend in 
many shapes upon the spirit of their choice. For, Queen, 
to those who hold the key, the madness of our dreams can 
show a clearer purpose and speak more certainly than all the 
acted wisdom of our waking life, which is a dream indeed. 
Thou didst see great Cassar in his bloody robe, and he threw 
his arms about the Prince Caasarion and led him hence. 
Hearken now to the secret of thy vision. It was Caesar's self 
thou sawest coming to thy side from Amenti in such a guise as 
might not be mistaken. When he embraced the child Caasarion 
he did it for a sign that to him, and him alone, had passed his 
greatness and his love. When he seemed to lead him hence 
he led him forth from Egypt to be crowned in the Capitol, 
crowned the Emperor of Rome and Lord of all the Lands. 
For the rest, I know it not. It is hid from me.' 

Thus, then, I read the vision, though to my sense it had a 
darker meaning. But it is not well to prophesy evil unto 
Kings. 

Meanwhile Cleopatra had risen, and, having thrown back 
the gnat gauze, was seated upon the edge of her couch, her 
eyes fixed upon my face, while her fingers played with her 
girdle's jewelled ends. 

' Of a truth,' she cried, ' thou art the best of all magicians, 
for thou readest my heart, and drawest a hidden sweet out 
of the rough shell of evil omen ! ' 

' Ay, Queen,' said Charmion, who stood by with down- 
cast eyes, and I thought there was bitter meaning in her soft 
tones ; ' may no rougher words ever affront thy ears, and no 
evil presage tread less closely upon its happy sense.' 

Cleopatra placed her hands behind her head and, leaning 
back, looked at me with half-shut eyes. 



no CLEOPATRA 

I Come, show us of thy magic, Egyptian,' she said. ' It is 
yet hot abroad, and I am weary of those Hebrew Ambassadors 
and their talk of Herod and Jerusalem. I hate that Herod, 
as he shall find — and will have none of the Ambassadors 
to-day, though I yearn a little to try my Hebrew on them. 
What canst thou do ? Hast thou no new trick ? By Serapis ! 
if thou canst conjure as well as thou canst prophesy, thou 
shalt have a place at Court, with pay and perquisites to boot, 
if thy lofty soul does not scorn perquisites.' 

' Nay,' I answered, ' all tricks are old ; but there are some 
forms of magic to be rarely used, and with discretion, that 
may be new to thee, Queen ! Art thou afraid to venture 
on the charm ? ' 

I I fear nothing ; go on and do thy worst. Come, Charmion, 
and sit by me. But, stay, where are all the girls ? — Iras and 
Merira ? — they, too, love magic' 

'Not so,' I said ; ' the charms work ill before so many. 
Now behold ! ' and, gazing at the twain, I cast my wand upon 
the marble and murmured a spell. For a moment it was still, 
and then, as I muttered, the rod slowly began to writhe. It 
bent itself, it stood on end, and moved of its own motion. 
Next it put on scales, and behold it was a serpent that crawled 
and fiercely hissed. 

1 Fie on thee ! ' cried Cleopatra, clapping her hands ; 
• callest thou that magic ? Why, it is an old trick that any 
wayside conjurer can do. I have seen it a score of times.' 

1 Wait, Queen,' I answered, ' thou hast not seen all.' 
And, as I spoke, the serpent seemed to break in fragments, 
and from eacli fragment grew a new serpent. And these, 
too, broke in fragments and bred others, till in a little while 
the place, to their glamoured sight, was a seething sea of 
snakes, that crawled, hissed, and knotted themselves in Knots. 
Then I made a sign, and the serpents gathered themselves 



CLEOPATRA ill 

round inc. and seemed slowly to twine themselves about my 
body and my limbs, till, save my face, I was wreathed thick 
with hissing snakes. 

4 Oh, horrible ! horrible ! ' cried Charmion, hiding her 
countenance in the skirt of the Queen's garment. 

1 Nay, enough, Magician, enough ! ' said the Queen : ' thy 
magic overwhelms us.' 

I waved my snake -wrapped arms, and all was gone. 
There at my feet lay the black wand tipped with ivory, and 
naught beside. 

The two women looked upon each other and gasped with 
wonder. But I took up the w T and and stood with folded arms 
before them. 

1 Is the Queen content w 7 ith my poor art ? ' I asked most 
humbly. 

* Ay, that am I, Egyptian ; never did I see its like ! Thou 
art Court astronomer from this day forward, with right of 
access to the Queen's presence. Hast thou more of such 
magic at thy call ? ' 

* Yea, royal Egypt ; suffer that the chamber be a little 
darkened, and I will show thee one more thing.' 

' Half am I afraid,' she answered ; ' nevertheless do thou 
as this Harmachis says, Charmion.' 

So the curtains were drawn and the chamber made as 
though the twilight were at hand. I came forward, and stood 
beside Cleopatra. ' Gaze thou there ! ' I said sternly, pointing 
with my wand to the empty space where I had been, ' and thou 
shalt behold that which is in thy mind.' 

Then for a little space was silence, while the two women 
gazed fixedly and half fearful at the spot. 

And as they gazed a cloud gathered before them. Very 
slowly it took shape and form, and the form it took was the 
form of a man, though as yet he was but vaguely mapped 



ii2 CLEOPATRA 

upon the twilight, and seemed now to grow and now to melt 
away. 

Then I cried with a loud voice : 

' Shade, I conjure thee, appear ! ' 

And as I cried the Thing, perfect in every part, leapt into 
form before us, suddenly as the flash of day. His shape was 
the shape of royal Cassar, the toga thrown about his face, and 
on his form a vestment bloody from a hundred wounds. An 
instant so he stood, then I waved my wand and he was gone. 

I turned to the two women on the couch, and saw 
Cleopatra's lovely face all clothed in terror. Her lips were 
ashy white, her eyes stared wide, and the flesh was shaking 
on her bones. 

' Man ! ' she gasped ; ' man ! who and what art thou who 
canst bring the dead before our eyes ? ' 

'I am the Queen's astronomer, magician, servant — what 
the Queen wills,' I answered laughing. ' Was this the form 
that was on the Queen's mind ? ' 

She made no answer, but, rising, left the chamber by 
another door. 

Then Charmion rose also and took her hands from her face, 
for she, too, had been stricken with dread. 

' How dost thou these things, royal Harmachis ? ' she 
said. ' Tell me ; for of a truth I fear thee.' 

'Be not afraid,' I answered. 'Perchance thou didst see 
nothing but what was in my mind. All things are shadows. 
How canst thou, then, know their nature, or what is and wha t 
only seems to be ? But how goes it ? Kemeinber, Charmion, 
this sport is played to an end.' 

'It goes well,' site said. 'By to-morrow's dawn these 
tales will have gone round, and thou wilt be more feared than 
;iny mail in Alexandria. Follow me, I pray thee.' 



CLEOPA TRA 



TI3 



CHAPTER IV. 

OF THE WAYS OF CHAKMION ; AND OF THE CEOWNING OF 
HARMACHIS AS THE KING OF LOVE. 

the following day I received the 
writing of rny appointment as 
Astrologer and Magician-in-Chief 
to the Queen, with the pay and 
perquisites of that office, which 
were not small. Rooms were 
given me in the palace, also, 
through which I passed at night to 
the high watch-tower, whence I 
looked on the stars and drew their 
auguries. For at this time Cleo- 
patra was much troubled about 
matters political, and not knowing how the great struggle 
among the Roman factions would end, but being very desirous 
to side with the strongest, she took constant counsel with me 
as to the warnings of the stars. These I read to her in such 
manner as best seemed to fit the high interest of my ends. 
For Antony, the Roman Triumvir, was now in Asia Minor, 
and, rumour ran, very wroth because it had been told him 
that Cleopatra was hostile to the Triumvirate, in that her 
General, Serapion, had aided Cassius. But Cleopatra pro- 
tested loudly to me and others that Serapion had acted against 
her will. Yet Charmion told me that, as with Allienus, it 
was because of a prophecy of Dioscorides the unlucky that the 

1 




U4 CLEOPATRA 

Queen herself had secretly ordered Serapion so to do. Still, 
this did not save Serapion, for to prove to Antony that she 
was innocent she dragged the General from the sanctuary 
and slew him. Woe be to those who carry out the will of 
tyrants if the scale should rise against them ! And so Sera- 
pion perished. 

Meanwhile all things went well with us, for the minds of 
Cleopatra and those about her were so set upon affairs abroad 
that neither she nor they thought of revolt at home. But day 
by day our party gathered strength in the cities of Egypt, and 
even in Alexandria, which is to Egypt as another land, all 
things being foreign there. Day by day, those who doubted 
were won over and sworn to the cause by that oath which 
cannot be broken, and our plans of action more firmly laid. 
And every other day I went forth from the palace to take 
counsel with my uncle Sepa, and there at his house met the 
Nobles and the great priests who were for the party of Khem. 

I saw much of Cleopatra, the Queen, and I was ever more 
astonished at the wealth and splendour of her mind, that for 
richness and variety was as a woven cloth of gold throwing 
back all lights from its changing face. She feared me some- 
what, and therefore wished to make a friend of me, asking 
me of many matters that seemed to be beyond the province of 
my office. I saw much of the Lady Charmion also — indeed, 
she was ever at my side, so that I scarce knew when she came 
and when she went. For she would draw nigh with that soft 
step of hers, and I would turn to find her at hand and watch- 
ing me beneath the long lashes of her downcast eyes. There 
was no service that was too hard for her, and no task too long ; 
for day and night she laboured for me and for our cause. 

But when I fchanked her for her loyalty, and said it should 
be had in mind in that time which was at hand, she stampnl 
he)- Coot, and pouted with her lips, like an angry child, saying 



CLEOPA TRA 1 1 5 

that, among all the things which I had learned, this had I 
not Learned — that Love's service asked no payment, and was 
its own guerdon. And I, being innocent in such matters, 
and, foolish that I was, holding the ways of women as of small 
account, read her sayings in the sense that her services to the 
cause of Khem, which she loved, brought with them their own 
reward. But when I praised so fine a spirit, she burst into 
angry tears and left me wondering. For I knew nothing of the 
trouble at her heart. I knew not then that, unsought, this 
woman had given me her love, and that she was rent and 
torn by pangs of passion fixed like arrows in her breast. I 
did not know — how should I know it, who never looked upon 
her otherwise than as an instrument of our joint and holy 
cause ? Her beauty never stirred me — no, not even when 
she leaned over me and breathed upon my hair, I never 
thought of it otherwise than as a man thinks of the beauty of 
a statue. What had I to do with such delights, I who was 
sworn to Isis and dedicate to the cause of Egypt ? ye 
Gods, bear me witness that I am innocent of this thing which 
was the source of all my woe and the woe of Khem ! 

How strange a thing is this love of woman, that is so small 
in its beginning and in its ends so great ! See, at the first 
it is as the little spring of water welling from a mountain's 
heart. And at the last what is it ? It is a mighty river that 
floats argosies of joy and makes wide lands to smile. Or, 
perchance, it is a torrent to wash in a flood of ruin across the 
fields of Hope, bursting in the barriers of design, and bringing 
to tumbled nothingness the tenement of man's purity and the 
temples of his faith. For when the Invisible conceived the 
order of the universe He set this seed of woman's love within 
its plan, that by its most unequal growth is doomed to bring 
about equality of law. For now it lifts the low to heights 
untold, and now it brings the noble to the level of the dust. 

1 2 



n6 CLEOPATRA 

And thus, while Woman, that great surprise of Nature, is, Good 
and Evil can never grow apart. For still She stands, and, 
blind with love, shoots the shuttle of our fate, and pours sweet 
water into the cup of bitterness, and poisons the wholesome 
breath of life with the doom of her desire. Turn this way 
and turn that, She is at hand to meet thee. Her weakness is 
thy strength, her might is thy undoing. Of her thou art, to 
her thou goest. She is thy slave, yet holds thee captive ; at 
her touch honour withers, locks open, and barriers fall. She is 
infinite as ocean, she is variable as heaven, and her name is 
the Unforeseen. Man, strive not to escape from Woman and 
the love of woman ; for, fly where thou wilt, She is yet thy 
fate, and whate'er thou buildest thou buildest it for her ! 

And thus it came to pass that I, Harmachis, who had put 
such matters far from me, was yet doomed to fall by the 
thing I held of no account. For, see, this Charmion : she 
loved me — why, I know not. Of her own thought she learned 
to love me, and of her love came what shall be told. But I, 
knowing naught, treated her like a sister, walking as it were 
hand in hand with her towards our common end. 

And so the time passed on, till, at length, all things were 
made ready. 

It was the night before the night when the blow should 
fall, and there were revellings in the palace. That very day 
I had seen Sepa, and with him the captains of a band of live 
hundred men, who should burst into the palace at midnighl 
on the morrow, when I had slain Cleopatra the Queen, and 
put the Roman and the Gallic legionaries to the sword. That 
very day I had suborned the Captain PauhlS, who, since I 
drew him through the gates, was my will's slaw. Malt' bj 
fear and half by promises of great reward I had prevailed 
upon him, for the watch was bis, to unbar that small gate 
which faces to the East at the signal on (lie morrow night. 



CLEOPATRA 117 

All was made ready— the flower of Freedom that had been 
five-and-twenty years in growth was on the point of bloom. 
Armed companies were gathered in every city from Abu to 
Athu, and spies looked out from their walls, awaiting the 
coming of the messenger who should bring tidings that Cleo- 
patra was no more and that Harmachis, the royal Egyptian, 
had seized the throne. 

All was prepared, triumph hung to my hand as a ripe fruit 
to the hand of the plucker. Yet as I sat at the royal feast 
my heart was heavy, and a shadow of coming woe lay cold 
within my mind. I sat there in a place of honour, near the 
majesty of Cleopatra, and looked down the lines of guests, 
bright with gems and garlanded with flowers, marking those 
whom I had doomed to die. There before me lay Cleopatra 
in all her beauty, which thrilled the beholder as he is thrilled 
by the rushing of the midnight gale, or by the sight of stormy 
waters. I gazed on her as she touched her lips with wine 
and toyed with the chaplet of roses on her brow, thinking of 
the dagger beneath my robe that I had sworn to bury in her 
breast. Again, and yet again, I gazed and strove to hate her, 
strove to rejoice that she must die — and could not. There, 
too, behind her — watching me now, as ever, with her deep- 
fringed eyes — was the lovely Lady Charmion. Who, to look 
at her innocent face, would believe that she was the setter of 
that snare in which the Queen who loved her should miserably 
perish ? Who would dream that the secret of so much death 
was locked in her girlish breast ? I gazed, and grew sick at 
heart because I must anoint my throne with blood, and by 
evil sweep away the evil of the land. At that hour I wished, 
indeed, that I was nothing but some humble husbandman, who 
in its season sows and in its season garners the golden grain ! 
Alas ! the seed that I had been doomed to sow was the seed 
of Death, and now I must reap the red fruit of the harvest ! 



n8 CLEOPATRA 

'Why, Harmachis, what ails thee?' said Cleopatra, smiling 
her slow smile. ' Has the golden skein of stars got tangled, 
my astronomer ? or dost thou plan some new feat of magic ? 
Say what is it that thou dost so poorly grace our feast ? Nay, 
now, did I not know, having made inquiry, that things so low 
as we poor women are far beneath thy gaze, why, I should 
swear that Eros had found thee out, Harmachis ! ' 

' Nay, that I am spared, Queen,' I answered. • The 
servant of the stars marks not the smaller light of woman's 
eyes, and therein is he happy ! ' 

Cleopatra leaned herself towards me, looking on me long 
and steadily in such fashion that, despite my will, the blood 
fluttered at my heart. 

' Boast not, thou proud Egyptian,' she said in a low voice 
which none but I and Charmion could hear, ' lest perchance 
thou dost tempt me to match my magic against thine. What 
woman can forgive that a man should push us by as things of 
no account ? It is an insult to our sex which Nature's self 
abhors,' and she leaned back again and laughed most music- 
ally. But, glancing up, I saw Charmion, her teeth on her 
lip and an angry frown upon her brow. 

1 Pardon, royal Egypt,' I answered coldly, but with such 
wit as I could summon, ' before the Queen of Heaven even 
stars grow pale ! ' This I said of the moon, which is the sign 
of the Holy Mother whom Cleopatra dared to rival, naming 
herself Isis come to earth. 

1 Happily said,' she answered, clapping her white hands. 
' Why, here's an astronomer who has wit and can shape a 
compliment ! Nay, such a wonder must not pass unnoted, lest 
the Gods resent it. Charmion, take this rose-chaplet from 
my hair and set it upon the Learned brow of our Harmachis 
He shall be crowned Kmg of Love, whether he an ill it or will 
n. not. 




' Aii 11 iirmachis ' 



CLEOPATRA 119 

Charmion lifted the chaplet from Cleopatra's brows and, 
bearing it to where I was, with a smile set it upon my head 
ji 1 warm and fragrant from the Queen's hair, but so roughly 
that she pained me somewhat. She did this because she was 
wroth, although she smiled with her lips and whispered, ' An 
omen, royal Harmachis.' For though she was so very much 
a woman, yet, when she was angered or suffered jealousy, 
Charmion had a childish way. 

Having thus fixed the chaplet, she curtsied low before 
me, and with the softest tone of mockery named me, in the 
Greek tongue, 'Harmachis, King of Love.' Then Cleopatra 
laughed and pledged me as ' King of Love,' and so did all the 
company, finding the jest a merry one. For in Alexandria 
they love not those who live straitly and turn aside from 
women. 

But I sat there, a smile upon my lips and black wrath in 
my heart. For, knowing who and what I was, it irked me to 
think myself a jest for the frivolous nobles and light beauties 
of Cleopatra's Court. But I was chiefly angered against 
Charmion, because she laughed the loudest, and I did not 
then know that laughter and bitterness are often the veils 
with which a sore heart wraps its weakness from the world. 
' An omen ' she said it was — that crown of flowers — and so it 
proved indeed. For I was fated to barter the Double Diadem 
of the Upper and the Low 7 er Land for a wreath of passion's 
roses that fade before they fully bloom, and Pharaoh's ivory 
bed of state for the pillow of a faithless woman's breast. 

' King of Love ! ' they crowned me in their mockery ; ay, 
and King of Shame ! And I, with the perfumed roses on my 
brow — I, by descent and ordination the Pharaoh of Egypt 
— thought of the imperishable halls of Abouthis and of that 
other crowning which on the morrow should be consummate. 

But still smiling, I pledged them back, and answered with 



120 CLEOPATRA 

a jest. For rising, I bowed before Cleopatra and craved leave 
to go. ' Venus,' I said, speaking of the planet that we know 
as Donaou in the morning and Bonou in the evening, ' was in 
the ascendant. Therefore, as new-crowned King of Love, I 
must now pass to do my homage to its Queen.' For these 
barbarians name Venus Queen of Love. 

And so amidst their laughter I withdrew to my watch- 
tower, and, dashing that shameful chaplet down amidst the 
instruments of my craft, made pretence to note the rolling of 
the stars. There I waited, thinking on many things that 
were to be, until Charmion should come with the last lists of 
the doomed and the messages of my uncle Sepa, whom she 
had seen that evening. 

At length the door opened softly, and she came jewelled 
and clad in her white robes, as she had left the feast. 



CLEOPATRA 



121 



CHAPTER V. 

OF THE COMING OF CLEOPATRA TO THE CHAMBER OF 
HARMACHIS ; OF THE THROWING FORTH OF THE KERCHIEF 
OF CHARMION ; OF THE STARS ; AND OF THE GIFT BY 
CLEOPATRA OF HER FRIENDSHIP TO HER SERVANT 
HARMACHIS. 




length thou art come, Charmion," I 
said. ' It is over-late.' 

1 Yea, my Lord ; but by no 
means could I escape Cleopatra. 
Her mood is strangely crossed to- 
night. I know not what it may 
portend. Strange whims and fancies 
blow across it like light and contrary 
airs upon a summer sea, and I cannot read her 
purpose.' 

1 Well, well ; enough of Cleopatra. Hast 
' thou seen our uncle ? ' 

1 Yes, royal Harmachis.' 
' And hast thou the last lists ? ' 

1 Yes ; here they are,' and she drew them from her bosom. 
1 Here is the list of those who, after the Queen, must certainly 
be put to the sword. Among them thou wilt note is the name 
of that old Gaul Brennus. I grieve for him, for we are friends ; 
but it must be. It is a heavy list.' 

1 It is so,' I answered conning it ; ' when men write out 



^m^ 



122 CLEOPATRA 

their count they forget no item, and our count is long. What 
must be must be. Now for the next.' 

' Here is the list of those to be spared, as friendly or 
uncertain ; and here that of the towns which will certainly rise 
as soon as the messenger reaches their gates with tidings of 
the death of Cleopatra.' 

1 Good. And now ' — and I paused — ' and now as to the 
manner of Cleopatra's death. How hast thou settled it ? 
Must it be by my own hand ? ' 

1 Yea, my Lord,' she answered, and again I caught that 
note of bitterness in her voice. ' Doubtless Pharaoh will 
rejoice that his should be the hand to rid the land of this false 
Queen and wanton woman, and at one blow break the chains 
which gall the neck of Egypt.' 

' Talk not thus, girl,' I said ; ' thou knowest well that I do 
not rejoice, being but driven to the act by deep necessity and 
the pressure of my vows. Can she not, then, be poisoned ? 
Or can no one of the eunuchs be suborned to slay her ? My 
soul turns from this bloody work ! Indeed, I marvel, however 
heavy be her crimes, that thou canst speak so lightly of the 
death by treachery of one who loves thee ! ' 

' Surely Pharaoh is over-tender, forgetting the greatness 
of the moment and all that hangs upon this dagger-stroke that 
shall cut the thread of Cleopatra's life. Listen, Harmachis. 
Thou must do the deed, and thou alone ! Myself 1 would do 
it, had my arm the strength ; but it has not. It cannot be 
done by poison, for every drop she drinks and every morsel 
that shall touch her lips is strictly tasted by three separate 
tasters, who cannot be suborned. Nor may the eunuchs of the 
guard be trusted. Two, indeed, are sworn to us; but the 
third cannot be come at. He must be cut down afterwards ; 
and, indeed, when so many men must fall, what matters B 
eunuch more or less? Thus it shall be, then. To-morrow 



CLEOPATRA 123 

night, at three hoars before midnight thou dost cast the final 
angary oi* the issue of the war. And then thou wilt, as is 
agreed, descend alone with me, having the signet, to the 01 
eh amber of the Queen's apartment. For the vessel bearing 
orders to the Legions sails from Alexandria at the following 
dawn ; and alone with Cleopatra since she wills that the thing 
be kept secret as the sea, thou wilt read the message of the 
stars. And as she pores over the papyrus, then must thou 
stab her in the back, so that she dies ; and see thou that thy 
will and arm fail thee not ! The deed being done — and indeed 
it will be easy — thou wilt take the signet and pass out to 
where the eunuch is — for the others will be wanting. If by 
any chance there is trouble with him — but there will be no 
trouble, for he dare not enter the private rooms, and the 
sounds of death cannot reach so far — thou must cut him 
down. Then I will meet thee ; and, passing on, we will come 
to Paulus, and it shall be my care to see that he is neither 
drunk nor backward, for I know how to hold him to the task. 
And he and those with him shall throw open the side gate, 
when Sepa and the five hundred chosen men who are in wait- 
ing shall pour in and cast themselves upon the sleeping 
legionaries, putting them to the sword. Why, the thing is easy 
so thou rest true to thyself, and let no womanisl. fears creep 
into thy heart. What is this dagger's thrust ? It is nothing, 
and yet upon it hang the destinies of Egypt and the world. 
* Hush ! ' I said. ' What is that ? — I hear a sound.' 
Charmion ran to the door, and, gazing down the long, dark 
passage, listened. In a moment she came back, her finger on 
her lips. ' It is the Queen,' she whispered hurriedly ; ' the 
Queen who mounts the stair alone. I heard her bid Iras leave 
her. I may not be found alone with thee at this hour ; it 
has a strange look, and she may suspect. What wants she 
here ? Where can I hide ? ' 



124 CLEOPATRA 

I glanced round. At the further end of the chamber was 
a heavy curtain that hid a little place built in the thickness 
of the wall which I used for the storage of rolls and instru- 
ments. 

' Haste thee — there ! ' I said, and she glided behind the 
curtain, which swung back and covered her. Then I thrust 
the fatal scroll of death into the bosom of my robe and bent 
over the mystic chart. Presently I heard the sweep of woman's 
robes and there came a low knock upon the door. 

1 Enter, whoever thou art,' I said. 

The latch lifted, and Cleopatra swept in, royally arrayed, 
her dark hair hanging about her and the sacred snake of royalty 
glistening on her brow. 

1 Of a truth, Harmachis,' she said with a sigh, as she sank 
into a seat, ' the path to heaven is hard to climb ! Ah ! I am 
weary, for those stairs are many. But I was minded, my 
astronomer, to see thee in thy haunts.' 

' I am honoured overmuch, Queen ! ' I said bowing low 
before her. 

' Art thou now ? And yet that dark face of thine has a 
somewhat angry look — thou art too young and handsome for 
this dry trade, Harmachis. Why, I vow thou hast cast my 
wreath of roses down amidst thy rusty tools ! Kings would 
have cherished that wreath along with their choicest diadems, 
Harmachis ! and thou dost throw it away as a thing of no 
account ! Why, what a man art thou ! But stay ; what is 
this ? A lady's kerchief, by Isis ! Nay, now, my Harmachis, 
how came litis here ? Are our poor kerchiefs also instruments 
of thy high art ? Oh, fie, fie ! — have I caught thee, then ? Art 
thou indeed a fox ? ' 

' Nay, most royal Cleopatra, nay!' I said, turning : for 
the kerchief which had fallen from Charmion's neck had an 
awkward look. ' I know not, indeed, how the frippery Game 



CLEOPATRA 125 

here. Perhaps, Borne one of the women who keep the chamber 
may have let it fall.' 

' Ah ! so — so ! ' she said drily, and still laughing like a 
rippling brook. ' Yes, surely, the slave-women who keep 
chambers owd such toys as this, of the very finest silk, worth 
twice its weight in gold, and broidered, too, in many colours. 
Why, myself I should not shame to wear it ! Of a truth it 
seems familiar to my sight.' And she threw it round her 
neck and smoothed the ends with her white hand. ' But 
there ; doubtless, it is a thing unholy in thine eyes that the 
scarf of thy beloved should rest upon my poor breast. Take 
it, Harmachis ; take it, and hide it in thy bosom — nigh thy 
heart indeed ! ' 

I took the accursed thing, and, muttering what I may not 
write, stepped on to the giddy platform whence I watched the 
stars. Then, crushing it into a ball, I threw it to the winds 
of heaven. 

At this the lovely Queen laughed once more. 

'Nay, think now,' she cried; ' what would the lady say 
could she see her love-gauge thus cast to all the world ? May- 
hap, Harmachis, thou wouldst deal thus with my wreath also ? 
See, the roses fade ; cast it forth,' and, stooping, she took up 
the wreath and gave it to me. 

For a moment, so vexed was I, I had a mind to take her 
at her word and send the wreath to join the kerchief. But I 
thought better of it. 

1 Nay,' I said more softly, * it is a Queen's gift, and I will 
keep it,' and, as I spoke, I saw the curtain shake. Often 
since that night I have sorrowed over those simple words. 

1 Gracious thanks be to the King of Love for this small 
mercy,' she answered, looking at me strangely. ■ Now, enough 
of wit ; come forth upon this balcony — tell me of the mystery 
of those stars of thine. For I always loved the stars, that 



126 CLEOPATRA 

are so pure and bright and cold, and so far away from our 
fevered troubling. There I would wish to dwell, rocked on 
the dark bosom of the night, and losing the little sense of self 
as I gazed for ever on the countenance of yon sweet- eyed 
space. Nay — who can tell, Harmachis ? — perhaps those stars 
partake of our very substance, and, linked to us by Nature's 
invisible chain, do, indeed, draw our destiny with them as 
they roll. What says the Greek fable of him who became a 
star ? Perchance it has truth, for yonder tiny sparks may 
be the souls of men, but grown more purely bright and placed 
in happy rest to illume the turmoil of their mother-earth. 
Or are they lamps hung high in the heavenly vault that night 
by night some Godhead, whose wings are Darkness, touches 
with his immortal fire so that they leap out in answering 
flame ? Give me of thy wisdom and open these wonders to 
me, my servant, for I have little knowledge. Yet my heart 
is large, and I would fill it, for I have the wit, could I but find 
the teacher.' 

Thereon, being glad to find footing on a safer shore, and 
marvelling somewhat to learn that Cleopatra had a place for 
lofty thoughts, I spoke and willingly told her such things 
as are lawful. I told her how the sky is a liquid mass press- 
ing round the earth and resting on the elastic pillars of the 
air, and how above is the heavenly ocean Nout, in which the 
planets float like ships as they rush upon their radiant way. 
I told her many things, and amongst them how, through the 
certain never-ceasing movement of the orbs of light, the planet 
Venus, that was called Donaou when she showed as the Morn- 
ing Star, became the planet Bonou when she came as the sweet 
Star of Eve. And while I stood and spoke watching the 
stars, she sat, ber hands clasped upon her knee, and watched 
my face. 

' Mi ! ' she broke in ;if, Length, 'and so Venus is to be S< en 




And while I spoke, watching the stars, she sat and watched my face' 



CLEOPATRA 127 

both in the morning and the evening sky. Well, oi a truth, 
Bhe is everywhere, though she best loves the night. But 
thou lovest not that I should use these Latin names to thee. 
Come, we will talk in the ancient tongue of Khem, which I 
know well ; I am the first, mark thou, of all the LagidaB 
who know it. And now,' she went on, speaking in my own 
tongue, but with a little foreign accent that did but make her 
talk more sweet, ' enough of stars, for, when all is said, they 
are but fickle things, and perhaps may even now be storing 
up an evil hour for thee or me, or for us both together. Not 
but what I love to hear thee speak of them, for then thy face 
loses that gloomy cloud of thought which mars it and grows 
quick and human. Harmachis, thou art too young for such 
a solemn trade ; methinks that I must find thee a better. 
Youth comes but once ; why waste it in these musings ? 
It is time to think when we can no longer act. Tell me how 
old art thou, Harmachis ? ' 

' I have six-and-twenty years, Queen,' I answered, ' for 
I was born in the first month of Shomou, in the summer 
season, and on the third day of the month.' 

' Why, then, we are of an age even to a day,' she cried, 
1 for I too have six-and-twenty years, and I too was born on 
the third day of the first month of Shomou. Well, this may 
we say : those who begot us need have no shame. For if I 
be the fairest woman in Egypt, methinks, Harmachis, that 
there is in Egypt no man more fair and strong than thou, ay, 
or more learned. Born of the same day, why, 'tis manifest 
that we were destined to stand together, I, as the Queen, and 
thou, perchance, Harmachis, as one of the chief pillars of my 
throne, and thus to work each other's weal.' 

' Or maybe each other's woe,' I answered, looking up ; for 
her sweet speeches stung my ears and brought more colour 
to my face than I loved that she should see there. 



128 CLEOPATRA 

' Nay, never talk of woe. Be seated here by me, Harrna- 
chis, and let us talk, not as Queen and subject, but as friend 
to friend. Thou wast angered with me at the feast to-night 
because I mocked thee with yonder wreath — was it not so ? 
Nay, it was but a jest. Didst thou know how heavy is the 
task of monarchs and how wearisome are their hours, thou 
wouldst not be wroth because I lit my dulness with a jest. 
Oh, they weary me, those princes and those nobles, and those 
stiff-necked pompous Komans. To my face they vow them- 
selves my slaves, and behind my back they mock me and 
proclaim me the servant of their Triumvirate, or their Empire, 
or their Republic, as the wheel of Fortune turns, and each 
rises on its round ! There is never a man among them — 
nothing but fools, parasites, and puppets — never a man since 
with their coward daggers they slew that Caesar whom all the 
world in arms was not strong enough to tame. And I must 
play off one against the other, if maybe, by so doing, I can 
keep Egypt from their grip. And for reward, what ? Why, 
this is my reward — that all men speak ill of me— and, I know 
it, my subjects hate me ! Yes, I believe that, woman though 
I am, they would murder me could they find a means ! ' 

She paused, covering her eyes with her hand, and it was 
well, for her words pierced me so that I shrank upon the seat 
beside her. 

' They think ill of me, I know it ; and call me wanton, 
who have never stepped aside save once, when I loved the 
greatest man of all the world, and at the touch of love my 
passion flamed indeed, but burnt a hallowed flame. These 
ribald Alexandrians swear that I poisoned Ptolemy, my 
brother — whom the Roman Senate would, most unnaturally, 
have forced on me, his sister, as a husband ! But it is false : 
he Bickened and died of fever. And even so they say that I 
would slayArsinoc, my sister who, indeed, would sla\ me! — 



CLEOPATRA 129 

but that, too, is false ! Though she will have none of me, I 
Love my Bister. Yes, they all think ill of me without a cause; 
1 thou dosl think ill of me, Harmaohis. 

4 Harmachis, before thou judgest, remember what a thing 
is envy ! — that foul sickness of the mind which makes the 
jaundiced eye of pettiness to see all things distraught — to read 
Evil written on the open face of Good, and find impurity in 
the whitest virgin's soul ! Think what a thing it is, Har- 
machis, to be set on high above the gaping crowd of knaves 
who hate thee for thy fortune and thy wit ; who gnash their 
teeth and shoot the arrows of their lies from the cover of 
their own obscureness, whence they have no wings to soar ; 
and whose hearts' quest it is to drag down thy nobility to 
the level of the groundling and the fool ! 

' Be not, then, swift to think evil of the Great, whose 
every word and act is searched for error by a million angry 

s, and whose most tiny fault is trumpeted by a thousand 
throats, till the world shakes with echoes of their sin ! Say 
not: "It is thus, 'tis certainly thus" — say, rather: "May 
it not be otherwise ? Have we heard aright ? Did she this 
thing of her own will ? " Judge gently, Harmachis, as wert 
thou I thou wouldst be judged. Remember that a Queen 
is never free. She is, indeed, but the point and instrument 
of those forces politic with which the iron books of history 
are graved. Harmachis ! be thou my friend — my Mend 
and counsellor ! — my friend whom I can trust indeed ! — for 
here, in this crowded Court, I am more utterly alone than 
any soul that breathes about its corridors. But thee I trust ; 
there is faith written in those quiet eyes, and I am minded to 
lift thee high, Harmachis. I can no longer bear my solitude 
of mind — I must find one with whom I may commune and 
speak that which lies within my heart. I have faults, I 
know it ; but I am net all unworthy of thy faith, for there 

K 



130 CLEOPATRA 

is good grain among the evil seed. Say, Harmaclris, wilt 
thou take pity on my loneliness and befriend me, who have 
lovers, courtiers, slaves, dependents, more thick than I can 
count, but never one single friend ? ' and she leant towards 
me, touching me lightly, and gazed on me with her wonderful 
blue eyes. 

I was overcome ; thinking of the morrow night, shame 
and sorrow smote me. J, her friend ! — I, whose assassin 
dagger lay against my breast ! I bent my head, and a sob or 
a groan, I know not which, burst from the agony of my heart. 

But Cleopatra, thinking only that I was moved beyond 
myself by the surprise of her graciousness, smiled sweetly, 
and said : 

' It grows late ; to-morrow night when thou bringest the 
auguries we will speak again, my friend Harmachis, and 
thou shalt answer me." And she gave me her hand to kiss. 
Scarce knowing what I did, I kissed it, and in another moment 
she was gone. 

But I stood in the chamber, gazing after her like one 
asleep. 



CLEOPATRA 



131 



CHAPTER VI. 



OF THE WORDS AND JEALOUSY OF CHARMION J OF THE 
LAUGHTER OF HARMACHIS ; OF THE MAKING READY FOR 
THE DEED OF BLOOD ; AND OF THE MESSAGE OF THE OLD 
WIFE, ATOUA. 








STOOD still, plunged in thought. 
Then by hazard as it were I took up 
the wreath of roses and looked on it. 
How long I stood so I know not, but 
when next I lifted up my eyes they 
fell upon the form of Charmion, 
whom, indeed, I had altogether for- 
gotten. And though at the moment I 
thought but little of it, I noted vaguely that 
she was flushed as though with anger, and 
beat her foot upon the floor. 

1 Oh, it is thou, Charmion ! ' I said. 
1 What ails thee ? Art thou cramped with standing so long in 
thy hiding-place ? Why didst not thou slip hence when Cleo- 
patra led me to the balcony ? ' 

'Where is my kerchief?' she asked, shooting an angry 
glance at me. ' I let fall my broidered kerchief.' 

1 Thy kerchief ! — why, didst thou not see ? Cleopatra 
twitted me about it, and I flung it from the balcony." 

1 Yes, I saw,' answered the girl, ■ I saw but too well. 
Thou didst fling away my kerchief, but the wreath of roses - 

K 2 



132 CLEOPATRA 

that thou wouldst not fling away. It was " a Queen's gift," 
forsooth, and therefore the royal Harmachis, the Priest of 
Isis, the chosen of the Gods, the crowned Pharaoh wed to the 
weal of Khem, cherished it and saved it. But my kerchief, 
stung by the laughter of that light Queen, he cast away ! ' 

' What meanest thou ? ' I asked, astonished at her bitter 
tone. ■ I cannot read thy riddles.' 

1 What mean I ? ' she answered, tossing up her head and 
showing the white curves of her throat. ' Nay, I mean naught, 
or all ; take it as thou wilt. Wouldst know what I mean, 
Harmachis, my cousin and my Lord ? ' she went on in a hard, 
low voice. ' Then I will tell thee — thou art in danger of the 
great offence. This Cleopatra has cast her fatal wiles about 
thee, and thou goest near to loving her, Harmachis — to loving 
her whom to-morrow thou must slay ! Ay, stand and stare 
at that wreath in thy hand — the wreath thou couldst not 
send to join my kerchief — sure Cleopatra wore it but to-night! 
The perfume of the hair of Caesar's mistress — Caesar's and 
others' — yet mingles with the odour of its roses ! Now, 
prithee, Harmachis, how far didst thou carry the matter on 
yonder balcony ? for in that hole where I lay hid I could not 
hear or see. 'Tis a sweet spot for lovers, is it not ? — ay, and 
a sweet hour, too ? Venus surely rules the stars to-night ? ' 

All of this she said so quietly and in so soft and modest 
a way, though her words were not modest, and yet so bitterly, 
that every syllable cut me to the heart, and angered me till 
I could find no speech. 

' Of a truth thou hast a wise economy.' she went on, seeing 
her advantage: 'to-night thou dost kiss the lips that to- 
morrow thou slialt still for ever! It is frugal dealing with 
the occasion of the moment; ay, worthy and honourable 
dealing ! ' 

Then at last I broke forth. 'Girl,' I cried, 'how darest 



CLEOPATRA 133 

thou speak thus to mo? Mindest thou who and what I am 
that thou loosest thy peevish gibes upon me? ' 

1 1 mind what it behoves thee to be,' she answered quick. 
• What thou art, that I mind not now. Surely thou knowest 
alone — thou and Cleopatra ! ' 

'What meanest thou?' I said. 'Am I to blame if the 
Queen ' 

4 The Queen ! What have we here ? Pharaoh owns a 
Queen ! ' 

' If Cleopatra wills to come hither of a night and talk ' 

' Of stars, Harmachis — surely of stars and roses, and 
naught beside ! ' 

After that I know not what I said ; for, troubled as I was, 
the girl's bitter tongue and quiet way drove me wellnigh 
to madness. But this I know : I spoke so fiercely that she 
cowered before me as she had cowered before my uncle Sepa 
when he rated her because of her Grecian garb. And as she 
wept then, so she wept now, only more passionately and with 
great sobs. 

At length I ceased, half-shamed but still angry and 
smarting sorely. For even while she wept she could find a 
tongue to answer with — and a woman's shafts are sharp. 

1 Thou shouldst not speak to me thus ! ' she sobbed ; ■ it 
is cruel — it is unmanly ! But I forget thou art but a priest, 
not a man — except, mayhap, for Cleopatra ! ' 

1 What right hast thou ? ' I said. ' What canst thou 
mean ? ' 

1 What right have I ? ' she asked, looking up, her dark 
eyes all aflood with tears that ran down her sweet face like 
the dew of morning down a lily's heart. ' What right have 
I ? Harmachis ! art thou blind ? Dost thou not know by 
what right I speak thus to thee ? Then I must tell thee. Well, 
it is the fashion in Alexandria ! By that first and holy right of 



134 CLEOPA TRA 

woman — by the right of the great love I bear thee, and which, 
it seems, thou hast no eyes to see — by the right of my glory 
and my shame. Oh, be not wroth with me, Harmachis, nor 
set me down as light, because the truth at last has burst from 
me ; for I am not so. I am what thou wilt make me. I am 
the wax within the moulder's hands, and as thou dost fashion 
me so I shall be. There breathes within me now a breath of 
glory, blowing across the waters of my soul, that can waft me 
to ends more noble than ever I have dreamed afore, if thou 
wilt be my pilot and my guide. But if I lose thee, then I lose 
all that holds me from my worse self — and let shipwreck come ! 
Thou knowest me not, Harmachis ! thou canst not see how big 
a spirit struggles in this frail form of mine ! To thee I am a 
girl, clever, wayward, shallow. But I am more ! Show me 
thy loftiest thought and I will match it, the deepest puzzle of 
thy mind and I will make it clear. Of one blood we are, and love 
can ravel up our little difference and make us grow one indeed. 
One end we have, one land we love, one vow binds us both. 
Take me to thy heart, Harmachis, set me by thee on the 
Double Throne, and I swear that I will lift thee higher than 
ever man has climbed. Reject me, and beware lest I pull thee 
down ! And now, putting aside the cold delicacy of custom, 
stung to it by what I saw of the arts of that lovely living 
falsehood, Cleopatra, which for pastime she practises on thy 
folly, I have spoken out my heart, and answer thou!' And 
she clasped her hands and, drawing one pace nearer, gazed, 
all white and trembling, on my face. 

For a moment I stood struck dumb, for the magic of her 
voice and the power of her speech, despite myself, stirred 
me like the rush of music. Had 1 loved the woman, doubt- 
less she might have fired me with her flame; but I loved 
her not, and I could not play at passion. And so thought 
came, and with thought that laughing mood, which is ever apt 



CLEOPATRA 135 

to fasten upon nerves strained to the point of breaking. In 
a flash, as it were, I bethought me of the way in which she 
had that very night forced the wreath of roses on my head. 
J thought of the kerchief and how I had flung it forth. I 
thought of Charmion in the little chamber watching what she 
held to be the arts of Cleopatra, and of her bitter speeches. 

tly, I thought of what my uncle Sepa would say of her 
could lie see her now, and of the strange and tangled skein 
in which I was immeshed. And I laughed aloud — the fool's 
laughter that was my knell of ruin ! 

She turned whiter yet — white as the dead — and a look 
grew upon her face that checked my foolish mirth. ' Thou 
findest, then, Harmachis,' she said in alow, choked voice, and 
dropping the level of her eyes, ' thou findest cause of merri- 
ment in what I have said ? ' 

' Nay,' I answered ; ' nay, Charmion ; forgive me if I 
laughed. It was rather a laugh of despair ; for what am I 
to say to thee ? Thou hast spoken high words of all thou 
mightest be : is it left for me to tell thee what thou art ? ' 

She shrank, and I paused. 

1 Speak,' she said. 

' Thou knowest — none so well ! — who I am and what my 
mission is : thou knowest — none so well ! — that I am sworn to 
Isis, and may, by law Divine, have naught to do with thee.' 

1 Ay,' she broke in, in her low voice, and with her eyes 
still fixed upon the ground — ' ay, and I know that thy vows 
are broken in spirit, if not in form — broken like wreaths of 
cloud ; for, Harmachis — thou lovest Cleopatra! ' 

'It is a lie ! ' I cried. * Thou wanton girl, who wouldst 
seduce me from my duty and put me to an open shame ! — who, 
led by passion or ambition, or the love of evil, hast not shamed 
to break the barriers of thy sex and speak as thou hast spoken 
— beware lest thou go too far ! And if thou wilt have an 



1 36 CLEOPATRA 

answer, here it is, put straightly, as thy question. Charmion, 
outside the matter of my duty and my vows, thou art naught 
to me ! — nor for all thy tender glances will my heart beat one 
pulse more fast ! Hardly art thou now my friend — for, of a 
truth, I scarce can trust thee. But, once more : beware ! To 
me thou mayest do thy worst ; but if thou dost dare to lift a 
ringer against our cause, that day thou diest ! And now, is 
this play done ? ' 

And as, wild with anger, I spoke thus, she shrank back, 
and' yet further back, till at length she rested against the wall, 
her eyes covered with her hand. But when I ceased she 
dropped her hand, glancing up, and her face was as the face 
of a statue, in which the great eyes glowed like embers, and 
round them was a ring of purple shadow. 

* Not altogether done,' she answered gently ; ' the arena 
must yet be sanded ! ' This she said having reference to 
the covering up of the bloodstains at the gladiatorial shows 
with fine sand. ' Well,' she went on, ' waste not thine anger 
on a thing so vile. I have thrown my throw and I have lost. 
Vce* victis ! — ah ! Vce victis ! Wilt thou not lend me the 
dagger in thy robe, that here and now I may end my shame ? 
No ? Then one word more, most royal Harmachis : if thou 
canst, forget my folly ; but, at the least, have no fear from me. 
I am now, as ever, thy servant and the servant of our cause. 
Farewell ! ' 

And she went, leaning her hand against the wall. But I, 
passing to my chamber, flung myself upon my couch, and 
groaned in bitterness of spirit. Alas ! we shape our plans, 
and by slow degrees build up our house of Hope, never count- 
ing on the guests that time shall bring to lodge therein. For 
who can guard against — the Unforeseen ? 

At length I slept, and my dreams were evil. When I woke 
the light of that day which should see the red fulfilment of 



CLEOPATRA 137 

the plot was streaming through the casement, and the birds 

sang merrily among the garden palms. I woke, and as I woke 
tlu 1 sense of trouhle pressed in upon me, for I remembered 
that before this day was gathered to the past I must dip my 
hands in blood — yes, in the blood of Cleopatra, who trusted 
me ! Why could I not hate her as I should ? There had 
been a time when I looked on to this act of vengeance 
with somewhat of a righteous glow of zeal. And now — and 
now — why, I would frankly give my royal birthright to be free 
from its necessity ! But, alas ! I knew that there was no 
escape. I must drain this cup or be for ever cast away. I 
felt the eyes of Egypt watching me, and the eyes of Egypt's 
Gods. I prayed to my Mother Isis to give me strength to do 
this deed, and prayed as I had never prayed before ; and oh, 
wonder ! no answer came. Nay, how was this ? What, then, 
had loosed the link between us that, for the first time, the 
Goddess deigned no reply to her son and chosen servant ? 
Could it be that I had sinned in heart against her ? What 
had Charmion said — that I loved Cleopatra ? Was this 
sickness love ? Nay ! a thousand times nay ! — it was but the 
revolt of Nature against an act of treachery and blood. The 
Goddess did but try my strength, or perchance she also turned 
her holy countenance from murder ? 

I rose filled with terror and despair, and went about my 
task like a man without a soul. I conned the fatal lists and 
noted all the plans — ay, in my brain I gathered up the very 
words of that proclamation of my Royalty which, on the 
morrow, I should issue to the startled world. 

' Citizens of Alexandria and dwellers in the land of Egypt,' 
it began, ' Cleopatra the Macedonian hath, by the command 
of the Gods, suffered justice for her crimes ' 

All these and other things I did, but I did them as a 
man without a soul — as a man moved by a force from without 



138 CLEOPATRA 

and not from within. And so the minutes wore away. In 
the third hour of the afternoon I went as by appointment 
fixed to the house where my uncle Sepa lodged, that same 
house to which I had been brought some three months gone 
when I entered Alexandria for the first time. And here I 
found the leaders of the revolt in the city assembled in secret 
conclave to the number of seven. When I had entered, 
and the doors were barred, they prostrated themselves, and 
cried, ' Hail, Pharaoh ! ' but I bade them rise, saying that 
I was not yet Pharaoh, for the chicken was still in the 

egg- 

' Yea, Prince,' said my uncle, ' but his beak shows 
through. Not in vain hath Egypt brooded all these years, 
if thou fail not with that dagger- stroke of thine to-night ; 
and how canst thou fail ? Nothing can now stop our course 
to victory ! ' 

1 It is on the knees of the Gods,' I answered. 

'Nay,' he said, 'the Gods have placed the issue in the 
hands of a mortal — in thy hands, Harmachis ! — and there it 
is safe. See : here are the last lists. Thirty-one thousand 
men who bear arms are sworn to rise when the tidings come 
to them. Within five days every citadel in Egypt will be in 
our hands, and then what have we to fear ? From Eome but 
little, for her hands are full ; and, besides, we will make 
alliance with the Triumvirate, and, if need be, buy them off. 
For of money there is plenty in the land, and if more be 
wanted thou, Harmachis, knowest where it is stored against 
the need of Khem, and outside the Roman's reach of arm. 
Who is there to harm us? There is none. Perchance, in 
this turbulent city, there may be struggle, and a, counter- 
plot to brintf Arsinoe to Kiopt and set her on the throne. 
Therefore Alexandria must be severely dealt with— ay, even 
to destruction, if Deed be. As for Arsinoe, those go forth to- 



CLEOPATRA 139 

morrow on the news of the Queen's death who shall slay her 
sretly.' 

' There remains the Lad Csesarion,' I said. ' Rome might 
claim through Cesar's son, and the child of Cleopatra inherits 
Cleopatra's rights. Here is a double danger.' 

4 Fear not,' said my uncle ; ' to-morrow Caesarion joins 
those who begat him in Amenti. I have made provision. 
The Ptolemies must be stamped out, so that no shoot shall 
ever spring from that root blasted by Heaven's vengeance.' 

' Is there no other means ? ' I asked sadly. • My heart 
is sick at the promise of this red rain of blood. I know the 
child well ; he has Cleopatra's fire and beauty and great 
Caesar's wit. It were shame to murder him.' 

' Nay, be not so chicken-hearted, Harmachis,' said my 
uncle, sternly. ' What ails thee, then ? If the lad is thus, 
the more reason that he should die. Wouldst thou nurse up 
a young lion to tear thee from the throne ? ' 

* Be it so,' I answered, sighing. ' At least he is spared 
much, and will go hence innocent of evil. Now for the 
plans.' 

We sat long taking counsel, till at length, in face of the 
great emergency and our high emprise, I felt something of the 
spirit of former days flow back into my heart. At the last all 
was ordered, and so ordered that it could scarce miscarry, for 
it was fixed that if by any chance I could not come to slay 
Cleopatra on this night, then the plot should hang in the scale 
till the morrow, when the deed must be done upon occasion. 
For the death of Cleopatra was the signal. These matters 
being finished, once more we stood and, our hands upon the 
sacred symbol, swore the oath that may not be written. And 
then my uncle kissed me w T ith tears of hope and joy standing 
in his keen black eyes. He blessed me, saying that he would 
gladly give his life, ay, and a hundred lives, if they were his, 



140 CLEOPATRA 

if he might but live to see Egypt once more a nation, and me, 
Harmachis, the descendant of its royal and ancient blood, 
seated on the throne. For he was a patriot indeed, asking 
nothing for himself, and giving all things to his cause. And 
I kissed him in turn, and thus we parted. Nor did I ever 
see him more in the flesh who has earned the rest that as 
yet is denied to me. 

So I went, and, there being yet time, walked swiftly from 
place to place in the great city, taking note of the positions 
of the gates and of the places where our forces must be 
gathered. At length I came to that quay where I had landed, 
and saw a vessel sailing for the open sea. I looked, and in my 
heaviness of heart longed that I were aboard of her, to be borne 
by her white wings to some far shore where I might live 
obscure and die forgotten. Also I saw another vessel that 
had dropped down the Nile, from whose deck the passengers 
were streaming. For a moment I stood watching them, idly 
wondering if they were from Abouthis, when suddenly I heard 
a familiar voice beside me. 

' La ! la ! ' said the voice. ■ Why, what a city is this for 
an old woman to seek her fortune in ! And how shall I find 
those to whom I am known ? As well look for the rush in 
the papyrus-roll. 1 Begone ! thou knave ! and let my basket 
of simples lie ; or, by the Gods, I'll doctor thee with them ! ' 

I turned, wondering, and found myself face, to face with 
my foster-nurse, Atoua. She knew me instantly, for I saw 
her start, but in the presence of the people she checked her 
surprise. 

'Good Sir,' she whined, lifting her withered counte- 
nance towards me, and at the same time making the secret 
sign. ' By thy dress tlimi shouldst be an astronomer, and 1 

1 Papyrus waa manufactured from the pith of rushes. Hence Atoua'a 
Baying. Ed, 



CLEOPATRA 141 

was specially told to avoid astronomers as a pack of lying 
tricksters who worship their own star only; and, therefore, 
1 speak to thee, acting on the principle of contraries, which 
is law to us women. For surely in this Alexandria, where 
all things are upside down, the astronomers may be the honest 
men, since the rest are clearly knaves.' And then, being by 
now out of earshot of the press, ' royal Harmachis, I am come 
charged with a message to thee from thy father Amenemhat.' 

' Is he well ? ' I asked. 

1 Yes, he is well, though waiting for the moment tries 
him sorely.' 

1 And his message ? ' 

1 It is this. He sends greeting to thee and with it warning 
that a great danger threatens thee, though he cannot read it. 
These are his words : "Be steadfast and prosper." ' 

I bowed my head and the words struck a new chill of fear 
into my soul. 

k When is the time ? ' she asked. 

4 This very night. "Where goest thou ? ' 

1 To the house of the honourable Sepa, Priest of Annu. 
Canst thou guide me thither ? ' 

1 Nay, I may not stay ; nor is it wise that I should be seen 
with thee. Hold ! ' and I called a porter who was idling on 
the quay, and, giving him a piece of money, bade him guide 
the old wife to the house. 

' Farewell,' she whispered ; ' farewell till to-morrow. Be 
steadfast and prosper.' 

Then I turned and went my way through the crowded 
streets, where the people made place for me, the astronomer 
of Cleopatra, for my fame had spread abroad. 

And even as I went my footsteps seemed to beat Be stead- 
fast, Be steadfast, Be steadfast, till at last it was as though 
the very ground cried out its warning to me. 



[42 



CLEOPA TRA 



CHAPTEE VII. 

OF THE VEILED WOKDS OF CHARMION ; OF THE PASSING OF 
HARMACHIS INTO THE PRESENCE OF CLEOPATRA ; AND OF 
THE OVERTHROW OF HARMACHIS. 



was night, and I sat alone in my 
chamber, waiting the moment when, 
as it was agreed, Charmion should 
summon me to pass down to Cleo- 
patra. I sat alone, and there before 
me lay the dagger that was to pierce 
her. It was long and keen, and the 
handle was formed of a sphinx of solid 
gold. I sat alone, questioning the future' 
but no answer came. At length I 
looked up, and Charmion stood before 
me — Charmion, no longer gay and bright, but 
pale of face and hollow-eyed. 

' Royal Harmachis,' she said, ' Cleopatra summons thee, 
presently to declare to her the voices of the stars.' 
So the hour had fallen ! 

'It is well, Charmion,' I answered. 'Are all things in 
order ? ' 

' Yea, my Lord; all things are in order: well primed with 

wine, Paulas guards the gates, the eunuchs are withdrawn 

e one, the legionaries sleep, and already Sepa and his force 







CLEOPATRA \\\ 

lie hid without. Nothing has been neglected, and no lamb 
Bkipping at the Bhamble doors can be more innocent of its 
doom than is Queen Cleopatra.' 

'It is well,' 1 said again; 'let us be going,' and rising, 
I placed the dagger in the bosom of my robe. Taking a cup 
of wine that stood near, I drank deep of it, for I had scarce 
feasted food all that day. 

1 One word,' Charmion said hurriedly, ' for it is not yet 
time : last night — ah, last night — ' and her bosom heaved, ' I 
dreamed a dream that haunts me strangely, and perchance 
thou also didst dream a dream. It was all a dream and 'tis 
forgotten : is it not so, my Lord ? ' 

1 Yes, yes,' I said ; ' why troublest thou me thus at such 
an hour ? ' 

4 Nay, I know not ; but to-night, Harmachis, Fate is in 
labour of a great event, and in her painful throes mayhap 
she'll crush me in her grip — me or thee, or the twain of us, 
Harmachis. And if that be so — well, I would hear from thee, 
before it is done, that 'twas naught but a dream, and that 
dream forgot ' 

1 Yes, it is all a dream,' I said idly ; ■ thou and I, and the 
solid earth, and this heavy night of terror, ay, and this keen 
knife — what are these but dreams, and with what face shall 
the waking come ? ' 

1 So now, thou fallest in my humour, royal Harmachis. 
As thou sayest, we dream ; and while we dream yet can the 
vision change. For the phantasies of dreams are wonderful, 
seeing that they have no stability, but vary like the vaporous 
edge of sunset clouds, building now this thing, and now that ; 
being now dark and heavy, and now alight with splendour. 
Therefore, before we wake to-morrow tell me one word. Is that 
vision of last night, wherein I seemed to be quite shamed, and 
thou didst seem to laugh upon my shame, a fixed phantasy, or 



144 CLEOPATRA 

can it, perchance, yet change its countenance ? For remember, 
when that waking comes, the vagaries of our sleep will be 
more unalterable and more enduring than are the pyramids. 
Then they will be gathered into that changeless region of the 
past where all things, great and small — ay, even dreams, 
Harmachis — are, each in its own semblance, frozen to stone 
and built into the Tomb of Time immortal.' 

' Nay, Charmion,' I replied, ' I grieve if I did pain thee ; 
but over that vision comes no change. I said what was in my 
heart and there's an end. Thou art my cousin and my friend, 
I can never be more to thee.' 

' It is well — 'tis very well,' she said ; ' let it be forgotten. 
And now on from dream — to dream,' and she smiled with 
such a smile as I had never seen her wear before ; it was sad- 
der and more fateful than any stamp that grief can set upon 
the brow. 

For, though being blinded by my own folly and the trouble 
at my heart I knew it not, with that smile, the happiness of 
youth died for Charmion the Egyptian ; the hope of love fled ; 
and the holy links of duty burst asunder. With that smile 
she consecrated herself to Evil, she renounced her Country and 
her Gods, and trampled on her oath. Ay, that smile marks 
the moment when the stream of history changed its course. 
For had I never seen it on her face Octavianus had not be- 
stridden the world, and Egypt had once more been free and 
great. 

And yet it was but a woman's smile ! 

' Why lookest thou thus strangely, girl ? ' I asked. 

1 In dreams we smile,' she answered. ' And now it is time; 
follow thou me. Be firm and prosper, royal Harmachis I ' 
and bending forward she took my hand and kissed it. Then, 
with one strange last look, she turned and led the way down 
the stair and through the emptj halls. 




OutBl i t.ehed 
i usp ' 



CLEOPA TEA 145 

In the chamber that is called the Alabaster Hall, the roof 
of which is upborne by columns of black marble, we stayed. 
For beyond was the private chamber of Cleopatra, the same in 
which I had seen her sleeping. 

■ Abide thou here,' she said, ' while I tell Cleopatra of thy 
coming, 1 and she glided from my side. 

I stood for long, mayhap in all the half of an hour, count- 
ing my own heart-beats, and, as in a dream, striving to gather 
up my strength to that which lay before me. 

At length Charmion came back, her head held low and 
walking heavily. 

• Cleopatra waits thee,' she said : ' pass on, there is no 
guard.' 

' Where do I meet thee when what must be done is done ? ' 
I asked hoarsely. 

' Thou meetest me here, and then to Paulus. Be firm 
and prosper. Harmachis, fare thee well ! ' 

And so I went ; but at the curtain I turned suddenly, and 
there in the midst of that lonely lamplit hall I saw a strange 
sight. Far away, in such a fashion that the light struck full 
upon her, stood Charmion, her head thrown back, her white 
arms outstretched as though to clasp, and on her girlish face 
a stamp of anguished passion so terrible to see that, indeed, 
1 cannot tell it ! For she believed that I, whom she loved, 
was passing to my death, and this was her last farew T ell 
to me. 

But I knew naught of this matter ; so with another pass- 
ing pang of wonder I drew aside the curtains, gained the 
doorway, and stood in Cleopatra's chamber. And there, 
upon a silken couch at the far end of the perfumed chamber, 
clad in wonderful white attire, rested Cleopatra. In her hand 
was a jewelled fan of ostrich plumes, with which she gently 



146 CLEOPATRA 

fanned herself, and by her side was her harp of ivory, and a 
little table whereon were figs and goblets and a flask of ruby- 
coloured wine. I drew near slowly through the soft dim light 
to where the Wonder of the World lay in all her glowing 
beauty. And, indeed, I have never seen her look so fair as 
she did upon that fatal night. Couched in her amber cushions, 
she seemed to shine as a star on the twilight's glow. Perfume 
came from her hair and robes, music fell from her lips, and 
in her heavenly eyes all lights changed and gathered as in the 
ominous opal's disc. 

And this was the woman whom, presently, I must slay ! 

Slowly I drew near, bowing as I came ; but she took no 
heed. She lay there, and the jewelled fan floated to and fro 
like the bright wing of some hovering bird. 

At length I stood before her, and she glanced up, the 
ostrich-plumes pressed against her breast as though to hide 
its beauty. 

' What ! friend ; art thou come ? ' she said. ' It is well ; 
for I grew lonely here. Nay ; 'tis a weary world ! We know 
so many faces, and there are so few whom we love to see 
again. Well, stand not there so mute, but bo seated.' And 
she pointed with her fan to a carven chair that was placed near 
her feet. 

Once more I bowed and took the seat. 

' I have obeyed the Queen's desire,' I said, ' and with 
much care and skill worked out the lessons of the stars ; mi id 
here is the record of my labour. If the Queen permits, I will 
expound it to her.' And I rose, in order that I might pass 
round the couch and, as she read, stub her in the back. 

1 Nay, Harmachis,' she said quietly, and with a slow and 
lovely smile. 'Bide thou where thou art, and give nw the 
writing. By Serapisl thy face is too comely for me to wish 
to lose the sight of it ! ' 



CLEOPATRA 147 

Checked in this design, I could do nothing but hand her 
the papyrus, thinking to myself that while she read I would 
arise suddenly and plunge the dagger to her heart. She took it, 
and as she did so touched my hand. Then she made pretence 
to read. But she read no word, for I saw that her eyes were 
fixed upon me over the edge of the scroll. 

' Why placest thou thy hand within thy robe ? ' she asked 
presently ; for, indeed, I clutched the dagger's hilt. ' Is thy 
heart stirred ? ' 

1 Yea, Queen,' I said ; ' it beats high.' 

She gave no answer, but once more made pretence to read, 
and the while she watched me. 

I took counsel with myself. How should I do the hateful 
deed ? If I flung myself upon her now she would see me and 
scream and struggle. Nay, I must wait a chance. 

* The auguries are favourable, then, Harmachis ? ' she said 
at length, though this she must have guessed. 

1 Yes, Queen,' I answered. 

1 It is well,' and she cast the writing on the marble. ' The 
ships shall sail. For, good or bad, I am weary of weighing 
chances. 

1 This is a heavy matter, Queen,' I said. ■ I had wished 
to show upon what circumstance I base my forecast.' 

1 Nay, not so, Harmachis ; I have wearied of the ways of 
stars. Thou hast prophesied ; that is enough for me ; for, 
doubtless, being honest, thou hast written honestly. There- 
fore, save thou thy reasons and we'll be merry. What shall 
we do ? I could dance to thee — there are none who can 
dance so well ! — but it would scarce be queenly. Nay, I have 
it, I will sing.' And, leaning forward, she raised herself, 
and, bending the harp towards her, struck some wandering 
chords. Then her low voice broke out in perfect and most 
sweet song, 

L 2 



148 CLEOPATRA 

And thus she sang : 

' Night on the sea, and night upon the sky, 

And music in our hearts, we floated there, 
Lulled by the low sea voices, thou and I, 

And the wind's hisses in my cloudy hair : 
And thou didst gaze on me and call me fair — 

Enfolded by the starry robe of night — 
And then thy singing thrilled upon the air, 

Voice of the heart' s desire and Love's delight. 



' Adrift, with starlit skies above, 

With starlit seas beloiv, 
We move with all the suns that move, 

With all the seas that flow ; 
For bond or free, Earth, Sky, and Sea, 

Wheel ivith one circling will, 
And thy heart drifteth on to me, 

And only time stands still. 

Between two shores of Death we drift, 

Behind are things forgot : 
Before the tide is driving sivift 

To lands beholden not. 
Above, the sky is far and cold; 

Below, the moaning sea 
Sweeps o'er the loves that were of old, 

But, oh, Love ! kiss thou me. 

Ah, lonely are the ocean ivays, 

And dangerous the deep, 
And frail the fairy ba/rque that strays 

Above the seas asleep ! 
Ah, toil no more at sail nor oar. 

We drift, or bond or free ; 
On yon far shore the breakers roar t 

Jlul, oh, Love ! "kiss thou nte.' 



CLEOPA TRA 149 

4 And ever as tJiou eangest I drew near, 

Then sudden silence heard our hearts that beat, 

r now there wot an end of doubt and fear, 
Now passion filled my -soul and led my feet; 

Then silent didst tliou rise thy love to meet, 

Who, sinking on tin/ breast, knew naught hut thcr, 

And in the happy night I hissed thee, Sweet ; 

Ah. Sweet ! between the starlight and the sea.' 

The last echoes of her rich notes floated down the chamber, 
and slowly died away ; but in my heart they rolled on and on. 
I have heard among the women-singers at Abouthis voices 
more perfect than the voice of Cleopatra, but never have I 
heard one so thrilling or so sweet with passion's honey-notes. 
And indeed it was not the voice alone, it was the perfumed 
chamber in which was set all that could move the sense ; it was 
the passion of the thought and words, and the surpassing 
grace and loveliness of that most royal woman who sang 
them. For, as she sang, I seemed to think that we twain 
were indeed floating alone with the night, upon the starlit 
summer sea. And when she ceased to touch the harp, and, 
rising, suddenly stretched out her arms towards me, and with 
the last low notes of song yet quivering upon her lips, let fall 
the wonder of her eyes upon my eyes, she almost drew me to 
her. But I remembered, and would not. 

' Hast thou, then, no word of thanks for my poor singing, 
Harmachis ? ' she said at length. 

' Yea, Queen,' I answered, speaking very low, for my 
voice was choked ; ' but thy songs are not good for the sons 
of men to hear — of a truth they overwhelm me ! ' 

1 Nay, Harmachis ; there is no fear for thee,' she said 
laughing softly, ' seeing that I know how far thy thoughts 
are set from woman's beauty and the common weakness of 
thy sex. With cold iron we may safely toy.' 



150 CLEOPATRA 

I thought within myself that coldest iron can be brought 
to whitest heat if but the fire be fierce enough. But I said 
nothing, and, though my hand trembled, I once more grasped 
the dagger's hilt, and, wild with fear at my own weakness, 
set myself to find a means to slay her while yet my sense 
remained. 

* Come hither, Harmachis,' she went on, in her softest 
voice. ' Come, sit by me, and we will talk together ; for I 
have much to tell thee,' and she made place for me at her 
side upon the silken seat. 

And I, thinking that I might so more swiftly strike, rose 
and seated myself some little way from her on the couch, while, 
flinging back her head, she gazed on me with her slumbrous 
eyes. 

Now was my occasion, for her throat and breast were 
bare, and, with a mighty effort, once again I lifted my hand 
to clutch the dagger-hilt. But, more quick than thought, 
she caught my fingers with her own and gently held them. 

' Why lookest thou so wildly, Harmachis ? ' she said. 
1 Art sick ? ' 

1 Ay, sick indeed ! ' I gasped. 

1 Then lean thou on the cushions and rest thee,' she 
answered, still holding my hand, from which the strength had 
fled. ' The fit will surely pass. Too long hast thou laboured 
with thy stars. How soft is the night air that flows from 
yonder casement heavy with the breath of lilies ! Hark to the 
whisper of the sea lapping against the rocks, that, though 
it is faint, yet, being so strong, doth almost drown the quick 
cool fall of yonder fountain. List to Philomel ; how sweet 
from a full heart of love she sings lior message to her dear! 
Indeed it is a lovely night, and most beautiful is Nature's 
music, sung with a hundred voices from wind and trees and 
birds and ocean's wrinkled lips, and yet sung all to tunc 



CLEOPATRA 151 

Listen, Harmachis : I have guessed something concerning ihoo. 

Thou, too, arl of a royal race; no humble blood pours in 
those veins of thine. Surely such a shoot could spring but 
from the stock of Princes ? What! gazest thou at the leaf- 
mark on my breast ? It was pricked there in honour of great 
Osiris, whom with thee I worship. See ! ' 

' Let me hence,' I groaned, striving to rise ; but all my 
strength had gone. 

1 Nay, not yet awhile. Thou wouldst not leave me yet ? 
thou canst not leave me yet. Harmachis, hast thou never 
loved ? ' 

' Nay, nay, Queen ! What have I to do with love ? 
Let me hence ! — I am faint — I am fordone ! ' 

' Never to have loved — 'tis strange ! Never to have known 
some woman-heart beat all in tune to thine — never to have 
seen the eyes of thy adored aswim with passion's tears, as she 
sighed her vows upon thy breast ! — Never to have loved ! — 
never to have lost thyself in the mystery of another's soul ; 
nor to have learned how Nature can overcome our naked 
loneliness, and with the golden web of love of twain weave one 
identity ! Why, it is never to have lived, Harmachis ! ' 

And ever as she murmured she drew nearer to me, till 
at last, with a long, sweet sigh, she flung one arm about 
my neck, and gazed upon me with blue, unfathomable eyes, 
and smiled her dark, slow smile, that, like an opening flower, 
revealed beauty within beauty hidden. Nearer she bent her 
queenly form, and still more near — now her perfumed breath 
played upon my hair, and now her lips met mine. 

And woe is me ! In that kiss, more deadly and more 
strong than the embrace of Death, were forgotten Isis, my 
heavenly Hope, Oaths, Honour, Country, Friends, all things — 
all things save that Cleopatra clasped me in her arms, and 
called me Love and Lord. 



152 CLEOPATRA 

1 Now pledge me,' she sighed ; ' pledge me one cup of wine 
in token of thy love.' 

I took the draught, and I drank deep ; then too late I knew 
that it was drugged. 

I fell upon the couch, and, though my senses still were 
with me, I could neither speak nor rise. 

But Cleopatra, bending over me, drew the dagger from my 
robe. 

' Tve won ! ' she cried, shaking back her long hair. ' I've 
won, and for the stake of Egypt, why, 'twas a game worth 
playing ! With this dagger, then, thou wouldst have slain 
me, my royal Rival, whose myrmidons even now are gathered 
at my palace gate ? Art still awake ? Now what hinders me 
that I should not plunge it to thy heart ? ' 

I heard and feebly pointed to my breast, for I was fain to 
die. She drew herself to the full of her imperial height, and 
the great knife glittered in her hand. Down it came till its 
edge pricked my flesh. 

' Nay,' she cried again, and cast it from her, ' too well I 
like thee. It were pity to slay such a man ! I give thee thy 
life. Live on, lost Pharaoh ! Live on, poor fallen Prince, 
blasted by a woman's wit ! Live on, Harmachis — to adorn 
my triumph ! ' 

Then sight left me ; and in my ears I only heard the song 
of the nightingale, the murmur of the sea, and the music of 
Cleopatra's laugh of victory. And as I sank away, the sound 
of that low laugh still followed me into the land of sleep, and 
still it follows me through life to death. 




'"I've "won." she cried 



C LEO PA TRA 



153 



CHAPTER VIII. 

OF THE AWAKING OP HARMACHIS ; OF THE SIGHT OF DEATH ; 
OF THE COMING OF CLEOPATRA ; AND OF HER COMFORT- 
ABLE WORDS. 



more I woke ; it was to find myself 
SjjlSp in my own chamber. I started up. 
J Surely, I, too, had dreamed a 

dream ? It could be nothing but 
a dream ? It could not be that I 
woke to know myself a traitor ! 
That the opportunity had gone for 
ever ! That I had betrayed the cause, 
and that last night those brave men, 
headed by my uncle, had waited in vain at 
the outer gate ! That Egypt from Abu to 
Athu was even now waiting — waiting in 
vain ! Nay, whatever else might be, this 
could not be ! Oh, it was an awful dream which I had 
dreamed ! a second such would slay a man. It were better 
to die than face such another vision sent from hell. But, 
though the thing was naught but a hateful phantasy of a 
mind o'erstrained, where was I now ? Where was I now ? I 
should be in the Alabaster Hall, waiting till Charmion came 
forth. 

Where was I ? and ye Gods ! what was that dreadful 
thing, whose shape was the shape of a man ? — that thing 




154 CLEOPATRA 

draped in bloodstained white and huddled m a hideous heap 
at the foot of the couch on which I seemed to lie ? 

I sprang at it with a shriek, as a lion springs, and struck 
with all my strength. The blow fell heavily, and beneath its 
weight the thing rolled over upon its side. Half mad with 
terror, I rent away the white covering ; and there, his knees 
bound beneath his hanging jaw, was the naked body of a man 
— and that man the Roman Captain Paulus ! There he lay, 
through his heart a dagger — my dagger, handled with the 
sphinx of gold ! — and pinned by its blade to his broad breast 
a scroll, and on the scroll, writing in the Roman character. I 
drew near and read, and this was the writing : 

HARMAC1I1DI • SALVERE ■ EGO ' SUM • QUEM • SUBDERE ' NORAS- 
PA ULUS • ROM ANUS • DISCE • HINC • QUID • PRODERE • PROSIT. 

' Greeting, Harmachis ! I was that Boman Paulus whom thou 
didst suborn. Learn now how blessed are traitors ! ' 

Sick and faint I staggered back from the sight of that 
white corpse stained with its own blood. Sick and faint I 
staggered back, till the wall stayed me, while without the 
birds sang a merry greeting to the day. So it was no dream, 
and I was lost ! lost ! 

I thought of my aged father, Amenemhat. Yes, the vision 
of him flashed into my mind, as he would be, when they came 
to tell him his son's shame and the ruin of his hopes. I 
thought of that patriot priest, my uncle Sepa, waiting the 
long night through for the signal which never came. Ah, and 
another thought followed swift ! How would it go with them ? 
I was not the only traitor. I, too, had been betrayed. By 
whom ? By yonder Paulus, .perchance. If it were Paulus, he 
knew but little of those who conspired with me. But fche 

ret lists had been in my robe. Osiris I they were gone ! 
and fche fate of Paulus would be fche fate of all fche patriots in 




Greeting, Harmachis So my messenger has i'ound thee 1 ' 



CLEOPATRA 155 

Egypt. And at this thought my mind gave way. I sank and 
swooned even where I stood. 

My sense came back to me, and the lengthening shadows 
told me that it was afternoon. I staggered to my feet ; the 
corpse of Paulus was still there, keeping its awful watch above 
me. I ran desperately to the door. It was barred, and without 
1 heard the tramp of sentinels. As I stood they challenged and 
grounded their spears. Then the bolts were shot back, the 
door opened, and radiant, clad in royal attire, came the con- 
quering Cleopatra. She came alone, and the door was shut 
behind her. I stood like one distraught ; but she swept on 
till she was face to face with me. 

1 Greeting, Harrnachis,' she said, smiling sweetly. ' So, 
my messenger has found thee ! ' and she pointed to the corpse 
of Paulus. ' Pah ! he has an ugly look. Ho ! guards ! ' 

The door was opened, and two armed Gauls stepped across 
the threshold. 

1 Take away this carrion,' said Cleopatra, ' and fling it to 
the kites. Stay, draw that dagger from his traitor breast.' 
The men bowed low, and the knife, rusted red with blood, was 
dragged from the heart of Paulus and laid upon the table. 
Then they seized him by the head and body and staggered 
thence, and I heard their heavy footfalls as they bore him 
down the stairs. 

1 Methinks, Harrnachis, thou art in an evil case,' she said, 
when the sound of the footfalls had died away. ' How 
strangely the wheel of Fortune turns ! But for that traitor,' 
and she nodded towards the door through wiiich the corpse 
of Paulus had been carried, ' I should now be as ill a thing to 
look on as he is, and the red rust on yonder knife would have 
been gathered from my heart.' 

So it was Paulus who had betrayed me. 

' Ay, 7 she went on, ' and when thou earnest to me last 



156 CLEOPATRA 

night, I kneio that thou earnest to slay. When, time upon 
time, thou didst place thy hand within thy robe, I knew that 
it grasped a dagger hilt, and that thou wast gathering thy 
courage to the deed which thou didst little love to do. Oh ! it 
was a strange wild hour, well worth the living, and I wondered 
greatly, from moment to moment, which of us twain would 
conquer, as we matched guile with guile and force to force ! 

' Yea, Harmachis, the guards tramp before thy door, but 
be not deceived. Did I not know that I hold thee to me by 
bonds more strong than prison chains — did I not know that I 
am hedged from ill at thy hands by a fence of honour 
harder for thee to pass than all the spears of all my legions, 
thou hadst been dead ere now, Harmachis. See, here is thy 
knife,' and she handed me the dagger ; ' now slay me if thou 
canst,' and she drew near, tore open the bosom of her robe, 
and stood waiting with calm eyes. 

1 Thou canst not slay me,' she went on ; ' for there are 
things, as I know well, that no man — no such man as thou 
art — may do and live : and this is the chief of them — to slay 
the woman who is all his own. Nay, stay thy hand ! Turn 
not that dagger against thy breast, for if thou mayst not slay 
me, by how much the more mayst thou not slay thyself, 
thou forsworn Priest of Isis ! Art thou, then, so eager to face 
that outraged Majesty in Amenti ? With what eyes, thinkest 
thou, will the Heavenly Mother look upon Her son, who, 
shamed in all things and false to his most sacred vow, comes 
to greet Her, his life-blood on his hands ? Where, then, will 
be the space for thy atonement ?— if, indeed, thou mayst 
atone ! ' 

Then I could bear no more, for my heart was broken. 
Alas! it was too true — I dared not die! I was conic to 
such a pass that I did not even dare to die ! I flung mysi If 
upon tin couch and wept — wept tears of blood and anguish. 



CLEOPATRA 157 

But Cleopatra came to me, and, seating herself beside me, 
she strove to comfort me, throwing her arms about my neck. 

4 Nay, love, look up,' she said ; ' all is not lost for thee, nor 
am I angered against thee. We did play a mighty game ; 
but, as 1 warned thee, I matched my woman's magic against 
thine, and I have conquered. But I will be open with thee. 
Both as Queen and woman thou hast my pity— ay, and more ; 
nor do I love to see thee plunged in sorrow. It was well and 
right that thou shouldst strive to win back that throne my 
fathers seized, and the ancient liberty of Egypt. Myself as 
lawful Queen had done the same, nor shrunk from the deed of 
darkness to which I was sworn. Therein, then, thou hast my 
sympathy, that goes ever out to what is great and bold. It is 
well also that thou shouldst grieve over the greatness of thy 
fall. Therein, then, as woman — as loving woman — -thou hast 
my sympathy. Nor is all lost. Thy plan was foolish — for, 
as I hold, Egypt could never have stood alone — for though 
thou hadst won the crown and country — as without a doubt 
thou must have done — yet there was the Roman to be reckoned 
with. And for thy hope learn this : I am little known. There 
is no heart in this wide land that beats with a truer love for 
ancient Khem than does this heart of mine— nay, not thine own, 
Harmachis. Yet I have been heavily shackled heretofore — 
for wars, rebellions, envies, plots, have hemmed me in on every 
side, so that I might not serve my people as I would. But 
thou, Harmachis, shalt show me how. Thou shalt be my coun- 
sellor and my love. Is it a little thing, Harmachis, to have 
won the heart of Cleopatra ; that heart — fie on thee ! — that thou 
wouldst have stilled ? Yes, thou shalt unite me to my people 
and we will reign together, thus linking in one the new king- 
dom and the old and the new thought and the old. So do all 
things work for good— ay, for the very best : and thus, by an- 
other and a gentler road, thou shalt climb to Pharaoh's throne. 



158 CLEOPATRA 

' See thou this, Harmachis : thy treachery shall be cloaked 
about as much as may be. Was it, then, thy fault that a 
Roman knave betrayed thy plans ? that, thereon, thou wast 
drugged, thy secret papers stolen and their key guessed ? 
Will it, then, be a blame to thee, the great plot being broken and 
those who built it scattered, that thou, still faithful to thy trust, 
didst serve thee of such means as Nature gave thee, and win 
the heart of Egypt's Queen, that, through her gentle love, thou 
mightest yet attain thy ends and spread thy wings of power 
across the land of Nile ? Am I an ill-counsellor, thinkest thou, 
Harmachis ? ' 

I lifted my head, and a ray of hope crept into the darkness 
of my heart ; for when men fall they grasp at feathers. Then, 
I spoke for the first time : 

' And those with me — those who trusted me — what of 
them '? ' 

'Ay,' she answered, 'Amenemhat, thy father, the aged 
Priest of Abydus ; and Sepa, thy uncle, that fiery patriot, 
whose great heart is hid beneath so common a shell of form ; 
and ' 

I thought she would have said Charmion, but she named 
her not. 

' And many others — oh, I know them all ! ' 

' Ay ! ' I said, ' what of them ? ' 

'Hear now, Harmachis,' she answered, rising and placing 
her hand upon my arm, ' for thy sake I will show mercy to 
them. I will do no more than must be done. I swear by my 
throne and by all the Gods of Egypt that not one hair of thy 
aged father's head shall be harmed by me ; and, if it be not 
too late, I will also spare thy uncle Sepa, ay, and the others. 
I will not do as did my forefather Epiphanes, who, when 
the Egyptians rose against him, dragged Athinis, Pausiras, 
Chesuphus, and Irobashtus, bound to his chariot— not as 



CLEOPATRA 159 

Achilles dragged Sector, but yet living— round the city walls. 
1 will Bpare thorn all, save the Hebrews, if there be any 
Hebrews ; for the Jews I hate.' 

' There are no Hebrews,' I said. 

4 It is well,' she said, ■ for no Hebrew will I ever spare. 
Am I then, indeed, so cruel a woman as they say ? In thy 
list, Harmachis, were many doomed to die ; and I have but 
taken the life of one Roman knave, a double traitor, for he 
betrayed both me and thee. Art thou not overwhelmed, 
Harmachis, with the weight of mercy which I give thee, 
because— such are a woman's reasons— thou pleasest me, 
Harmachis ? Nay, by Serapis ! ' she added with a little laugh, 
1 I'll change my mind ; I will not give thee so much for 
nothing. Thou shalt buy it from me, and the price shall be a 
heavy one — it shall be a kiss, Harmachis.' 

1 Nay,' I said, turning from that fair temptress, ' the 
price is too heavy ; I kiss no more.' 

1 Bethink thee,' she answered, with a heavy frown. * Be- 
think thee and choose. I am but a woman, Harmachis, and 
one who is not wont to sue to men. Do as thou wilt ; but this 
I say to thee — if thou dost put me away, I will gather up the 
mercy I have meted out. Therefore, most virtuous priest, 
choose thou between the heavy burden of my love and the swift 
death of thy aged father and of all those who plotted with 
him.' 

I glanced at her and saw that she was angered, for her 
eyes shone and her bosom heaved. So, I sighed and kissed 
her, thereby setting the seal upon my shame and bondage. 
Then, smiling like the triumphant Aphrodite of the Greeks, 
she went thence, bearing the dagger with her. 

I knew not yet how deeply I was betrayed ; or why I was 
still left to draw the breath of life ; or why Cleopatra, the 
tiger-hearted, had grown merciful. I did not know that she 



160 CLEOPATRA 

feared to slay me, lest, so strong was the plot and so feeble her 
hold upon the Double Crown, the tumult that might tread hard 
upon the tidings of my murder should shake her from the 
throne — even when I was no more. I did not know that be- 
cause of fear and the weight of policy only she showed scant 
mercy to those whom I had betrayed, or that because of cunning 
and not for the holy sake of woman's love — though, in truth, 
she liked me well enough — she chose rather to bind me to her 
by the fibres of my heart. And yet I will say this in her be- 
half : even when the danger- cloud had melted from her sky 
she kept her faith, nor, save Paulus and one other, did any 
suffer the utmost penalty of death for their part in the great 
plot against Cleopatra's crown and dynasty. But they suffered 
many other things. 

And so she went, leaving the vision of her glory to strive 
with the shame and sorrow in my heart. Oh, bitter were the 
hours that could not now be made light with prayer. For 
the link between me and the Divine was snapped, and Isis 
communed with Her Priest no more. Bitter were the 
hours and dark, but ever through their darkness shone the 
starry eyes of Cleopatra, and came the echo of her whispered 
love. For not yet was the cup of sorrow full. Hope still 
lingered in my heart, and I could almost think that I had 
failed to some higher end, and that in the depths of ruin I 
should find another and more flowery path to triumph. 

For thus those who sin deceive themselves, striving to lay 
the burden of their evil deeds upon the back of Fate, striving 
to believe their wickedness may compass good, and to murder 
Conscience with the sharp pica of Necessity. But it can avail 
nothing, for hand in hand down the path of sin rush Remorse 
and Ruin, and woe to him they follow ! Ay, and woe to me 
who of all sinners am the chief! 



CLEOPATRA 



161 



CHAPTER IX. 

OF THE IMPRISONMENT OF HARMACHIS \ OF THE SCORN OF 
CHARMION ; OF THE SETTING FREE OF HARMACHIS J AND 
OF THE COMING OF QUINTUS DELLIUS. 



a space of eleven days I was thus 
kept prisoned in my chamber ; 
nor did I see anyone except the 
sentries at my doors, the slaves 
who in silence brought me food 
and drink, and Cleopatra's self, 
who came continually. But, 
though her words of love were 
many, she would tell me nothing 
of how things went without. She came in 
many moods — now gay and laughing, now full of 
wise thoughts and speech, and now passionate only, 
and to every mood she gave some new-found charm. She was 
full of talk as to how I should help her make Egypt great, and 
lessen the burdens on the people, and fright the Eoman eagles 
back. And, though at first I listened heavily when she spoke 
thus, by slow advance as she wrapped me closer and yet more 
close in her magic web, from which there was no escape; my 
mind fell in time with hers. Then I, too, opened something of 
my heart, and somewhat also of the plans that I had formed for 
Egypt. She seemed to listen gladly, weighing them all, and 
spoke of means and methods, telling me how she would purify 

M 




1 62 CLEOPATRA 

the Faith and repair the ancient temples — ay, and build new 
ones to the Gods. And ever she crept deeper into my heart, 
till at length, now that every other thing had gone from me, I 
learned to love her with all the unspent passion of my aching 
soul. I had naught left to me but Cleopatra's love, and I 
twined my life about it, and brooded on it as a widow over 
her only babe. And thus the very author of my shame 
became my all, my dearest dear, and I loved her with a 
strong love that grew and grew, till it seemed to swallow up 
the past and make the present as a dream. For she had 
conquered me, she had robbed me of my honour, and steeped 
me to the lips in shame, and I, poor fallen, blinded wretch, I 
kissed the rod that smote me, and was her very slave. 

Ay, even now, in those dreams which will come when 
Sleep unlocks the secret heart, and sets its terrors free to 
roam through the opened halls of Thought, I seem to see her 
royal form, as erst I saw it, come with arms outstretched 
and Love's own light shining in her eyes, with lips apart 
and flowing locks, and stamped upon her face the look of 
utter tenderness that she alone could wear. Ay, still, after 
all the years, I seem to see her come as erst she came, and 
still I wake to know her an unutterable lie ! 

And thus one day she came. She had fled in haste, she 
said, from some great council summoned concerning the wars 
of Antony in Syria, and she came, as she had left the council, 
in all her robes of state, the sceptre in her hand, and on 
her brow the uraeus diadem of gold. There she sat before 
me, laughing ; for, wearying of them, she had told the envoys 
to whom she gave audience in the council that she was called 
from their presence by a sudden message come from Rome; 
and the jest seemed merry to her. Suddenly she rose, took 
the diadem from her brow, and set it on my hair, and on my 
Bhoulderg her royal mantle, and in my hand the sceptre 



CLEOPA TRA 

and bowed the knee before me. Then, laughing again, she 

kissed me on the lips, and said I was indeed her King. But, 
remembering how I had been crowned in the halls of Abouthis, 
and remembering also that wreath of roses of which the odour 
haunts me yet, I rose, pale with wrath, and cast the trinkets 
from me, asking how she dared to mock me — her caged bird. 
And I think there was that about me which startled her, 
for she fell back. 

1 Nay, Harmachis,' she said, ■ be not wroth ! How 
knowest thou that I mock thee ? How knowest thou that 
thou shalt not be Pharaoh in fact and deed ? ' 

1 What meanest thou ? ' I said. ' Wilt thou, then, wed 
me before Egypt ? How else can I be Pharaoh now ? ' 

She cast down her eyes. ' Perchance, love, it is in my 
mind to wed thee,' she said gently. 'Listen,' she went on : 
• Thou growest pale, here, in this prison, and thou dost eat 
little. Gainsay me not ! I know it from the slaves. I have 
kept thee here, Harmachis, for thy own sake, that is so dear 
to me ; and for thy own sake, and thy honour's sake, thou 
must still seem to be my prisoner. Else wouldst thou be 
shamed and slain — ay, murdered secretly. But I can meet 
thee here no more ! therefore to-morrow I will free thee in 
all, save in the name, and thou shalt once more be seen at 
Court as my astronomer. And I will give this reason — that 
thou hast cleared thyself ; and, moreover, that thy auguries 
as regards the war have been auguries of truth — as. indeed, 
they have, though for this I have no cause to thank thee, 
seeing that thou didst suit thy prophecies to fit thy cause. 
Now, farewell ; for I must return to those heavy-browed am- 
bassadors ; and grow not so sudden wroth, Harmachis, for 
who knows what may come to pass betwixt thee and me ? ' 

And, with a little nod, she went, leaving it on my mind 
that she had it in her heart to wed me openly. And of a 

K 2 



1 64 CLEOPATRA 

truth, I believe that, at this hour, such was her thought. 
For, if she loved me not, still she held me dear, and as yet 
she had not wearied of me. 

On the morrow Cleopatra came not, but Charmion came — 
Charmion, whom I had not seen since that fatal night of ruin. 
She entered and stood before me, with pale face and down- 
cast eyes, and her first words were words of bitterness. 

' Pardon me,' she said, in her gentle voice, ' in that I dare 
to come to thee in Cleopatra's place. Thy joy is not delayed 
for long, for thou shalt see her presently.' 

I shrank at her words, as well I might, and, seeing her 
vantage, she seized it. 

' I come, Harmachis — royal no more ! — I come to say 
that thou art free ! Thou art free to face thine own infamy, 
and see it thrown back from every eye which trusted thee, as 
shadows are from water. I come to tell thee that the great 
plot — the plot of twenty years and more — is at its utter end. 
None have been slain, indeed, unless it is Sepa, who has 
vanished. But all the leaders have been seized and put in 
chains, or driven from the land, and their party is broken and 
scattered. The storm has melted before it burst. Egypt is lost, 
and lost for ever, for her last hope is gone ! No longer may she 
struggle— now for all time she must bow her neck to the 
yoke, and bare her back to the rod of the oppressor ! ' 

I groaned aloud. ' Alas, I was betrayed ! ' I said, * Paulus 
betrayed us.' 

1 Thou wast betrayed ? Nay, thou thyself wast the be- 
trayer ! How came it that thou didst not slay Cleopatra when 
thou wast alone with her ? Speak, thou forsworn ! ' 

' She drugged me,' 1 said again. 

' O Harmachis ! ' answered the pitiless girl, ' how low art 
fchou fallen from that Prince whom once I knew ! — thou who 
dost not scorn to be a liar ! Yea , thou wast drugged — drugged 



CLEOPATRA 165 

with a Love-philtre! Yea, thou didst sell Egypt and thy 
cause for tin 1 price of a wanton's kiss ! Thou Sorrow and 
thou Shame I ' Bhe went on, pointing her finger at me and 
lifting her eyes to my face, ' thou Scorn! — thou Outcast ! — 
and thou Contempt ! Deny it if thou canst. Ay, shrink from 
me — knowing what thou art, well mayst thou shrink ! Crawl 
to Cleopatra's feet, and kiss her sandals till such time as it 
pleases her to trample thee in thy kindred dirt; but from all 
honest folk shrink ! — shrink ! ' 

My soul quivered beneath the lash of her bitter scorn and 
hate, but I had no words to answer. 

' How conies it,' I said at last in a heavy voice, ' that 
thou, too, art not betrayed, but art still here to taunt me, thou 
who once didst swear that thou didst love me ? Being a 
woman, hast thou no pity for the frailty of man ? ' 

1 My name was not on the lists,' she said, dropping her 
dark eyes. * Here is an opportunity : betray me also, 
Harmachis! Ay, it is because I once loved thee — dost thou, 
indeed, remember it? — that I feel thy fall the more. The 
shame of one whom we have loved must in some sort 
become our shame, and must ever cling to us, because we 
blindly held a - thing so base close to our inmost heart. Art 
thou also, then, a fool? Wouldst thou, fresh from thy royal 
wanton's arms, come to me for comfort— to me of all the world ? ' 
1 How know I,' I said, ' that it was not thou who, in thy 
jealous anger, didst betray our plans ? Charmion, long ago 
Sepa warned me against thee, and of a truth now that I 

recall ' 

' It is like a traitor,' she broke in, reddening to her brow, 
■ to think that all are of his family, and hold a common mind ! 
Nay, I betrayed thee not ; it was that poor knave, Paulus, whose 
heart failed him at the last, and who is rightly served. Nor 
will I stay to hear thoughts so base. Harmachis — royal no 



1 66 CLEOPATRA 

more !— Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, bids me say that thou art 
free, and that she waits thee in the Alabaster Hall.' 

And shooting one swift glance through her long lashes she 
curtsied and was gone. 

So once more I came and went about the Court, though 
but sparingly, for my heart was full of shame and terror, and 
on every face I feared to see the scorn of those who knew me 
for what I was. But I saw nothing, for all those who had 
knowledge of the plot had fled, and Charmion had spoken no 
word, for her own sake. Also, Cleopatra had put it about that 
I was innocent. But my guilt lay heavy on me, and made me 
thin and wore away the beauty of my countenance. And 
though I was free in name, yet I was ever watched ; nor might 
I stir beyond the palace grounds. 

And at length came the day which brought with it Quintus 
Dellius, that false Roman knight who ever served the rising 
star. He bore letters to Cleopatra from Marcus Antonius, the 
Triumvir, who, fresh from the victory of Philippi, was now in 
Asia wringing gold from the subject kings with which to 
satisfy the greed of his legionaries. 

Well I mind me of the day. Cleopatra, clad in her robes 
of state, attended by the officers of her Court, among whom I 
stood, sat in the great hall on her throne of gold, and bade 
the heralds admit the Ambassador of Antony, the Triumvir. 
The great doors were thrown wide, and amidst the blare of 
trumpets and salutes of the Gallic guards the Roman came 
in, clad in glittering golden armour and a scarlet cloak of silk, 
and followed by his suite of officers. He was smooth-faced 
and fair to look upon, and with a supple form ; but his mouth 
was cold, and false were his shifting eyes. And while the 
heralds called out his name, titles, and offices, he fixed his 
gaze on Cleopatra who sat idly on her throne all radiant 




He fixed his £aze or. imazed.' 



CLEOPATRA 167 

with beauty— as a man who is amazed. Then when the heralds 
had made an end, and he still stood thus, not stirri 
Cleopatra spoke in the Latin tongue : 

* Greeting to fchee, noble Dellius, envoy of the most mighty 
Antony, whose shadow lies across the world as though Mars 
himself now towered up above us petty Princes — greeting and 
welcome to our poor city of Alexandria. Unfold, we pray 
fchee, the purpose of thy coming.' 

Still the crafty Dellius made no answer, but stood as a 
man amazed. 

1 What ails thee, noble Dellius, that thou dost not speak ? ' 
asked Cleopatra. ' Hast thou, then, wandered so long in Asia 
that the doors of Roman speech are shut to thee ? What 
tongue hast thou ? Name it, and We will speak in it — for 
all tongues are known to Us.' 

Then at last he spoke in a soft full voice : 'Oh, pardon 
me, most lovely Egypt, if I have thus been stricken dumb 
before thee : but too great beauty, like Death himself, doth 
paralyse the tongue and steal our sense away. The eyes of 
him who looks upon the fires of the mid-day sun are blind to 
all beside, and thus this sudden vision of thy glory, royal 
Egypt, overwhelmed my mind, and left me helpless and 
unwitting of all things else.' 

'Of a truth, noble Dellius,' answered Cleopatra, 'they 
teach a pretty school of flattery yonder in Cilicia.' 

' How goes the saying here in Alexandria ? ' replied the 
courtly Roman : " The breath of flattery cannot waft a cloud," ! 
does it not ? But to my task. Here, royal Egypt, are letters 
under the hand and seal of the noble Antony treating of 
certain matters of the State. Is it thy pleasure that I should 
read them openly ? ' 

1 In other words, what is Divine is beyond the reach of human 
praise. — Ed. 



1 68 CLEOPATRA 

' Break the seals and read,' she answered. 

Then bowing, he broke the seals and read : 

' The Triumviri Beipublica Constituencies, by the mouth 
of Marcus Antonius, the Triumvir, to Cleopatra, by grace 
of the Roman People Queen of Upper and Lower Egypt, send 
greeting. Whereas it has come to our knowledge that thou, 
Cleopatra, hast, contrary to thy promise and thy duty, both 
by thy servant Allienus and by thy servant Serapion, the 
Governor of Cyprus, aided the rebel murderer Cassius against 
the arms of the most noble Triumvirate. And, whereas it has 
come to our knowledge that thou thyself wast but lately 
making ready a great fleet to this end. We summon thee that 
thou dost without delay journey to Cilicia, there to meet the 
noble Antony, and in person make answer concerning these 
charges which are laid against thee. And we warn thee that 
if thou dost disobey this our summons it is at thy peril. Fare- 
well.* 

The eyes of Cleopatra flashed as she hearkened to these 
high words, and I saw her hands tighten on the golden 
lions' heads whereon they rested. 

1 We have had the flattery,' she said ; ' and now, lest we 
be cloyed with sweets, we have its antidote ! Listen thou, 
Dellius : the charges in that letter, or, rather, in that writ of 
summons, are false, as all folk can bear us witness. But it is 
not now, and it is not to thee, that We will make defence of 
our acts of war and policy. Nor will We leave our kingdom 
to journey into far Cilicia, and there, like some poor suppliant 
at law, plead our cause before the Court of the noble Antony. 
If Antony will have speech with us, and inquire concerning 
these high matters, the sea is open and his welcome shall be 
royal. Let him come hither. That is our answer to thee and 
to the Triumvirate, O Dellius ! ' 



CLEOPATRA 169 

But Delliua smiled as one who would put away the weight 
of wrath, and once more spoke: 

4 Royal Egypt, thou knowest not the noble Antony. He is 
Btern on paper, and ever he sets down his thoughts as though 
his stylus were a spear dipped in the blood of men. But face 
to face with him, thou, of all the world, shalt find him the 
gentlest warrior that ever won a battle. Be advised, Egypt! 
and come. Send me not hence with such angry words, for if 
thou dost draw Antony to Alexandria, then woe to Alexandria, 
to the people of the Nile, and to thee, great Egypt ! For then 
he will come armed and breathing war, and it shall go hard 
with thee, w T ho dost defy the gathered might of Rome. I pray 
thee, then, obey this summons. Come to Cilicia ; come with 
peaceful gifts and not in arms. Come in thy beauty, and 
tricked in thy best attire, and thou hast naught to fear from 
the noble Antony.' He paused and looked at her meaningly ; 
while I, taking his drift, felt the angry blood surge into my 
face. 

Cleopatra, too, understood, for I saw her rest her chin 
upon her hand and the cloud of thought gathered in her eyes. 
For a time she sat thus, while the crafty Dellius watched her 
curiously. And Charmion, standing with the other ladies 
by the throne, she also read his meaning, for her face lit up, 
as a summer cloud lights in the evening when the broad 
lightning flares behind it. Then once more it grew pale and 
quiet. 

At length Cleopatra spoke. ' This is a heavy matter,' she 
said, ' and therefore, noble Dellius, we must have time to let 
our judgment ripen. Rest thou here, and make thee as merry 
as our poor circumstance allows. Thou shalt have thy answer 
within ten days.' 

The envoy thought awhile, then replied smiling : * It is 



170 CLEOPATRA 

well, Egypt ; on the tenth day from now I will attend for 
my answer, and on the eleventh I sail hence to join Antony 
my Lord.' 

Once more, at a sign from Cleopatra, the trumpets blared, 
and he withdrew bowing. 



CLEOPATRA 



171 



CHAPTER X. 

OF THE TROUBLE OF CLEOPATRA ; OF HER OATH TO HAR- 
MACHIS ; AND OF THE TELLING BY HARMACHIS TO CLEO- 
PATRA OF THE SECRET OF THE TREASURE THAT LAY 
BENEATH THE MASS OF ' HER.' 

HAT same night Cleopatra sum- 
moned me to her private chamber. 
I went, and found her much 
troubled in mind ; never before 
had I seen her so deeply moved. 
She was alone, and, like some 
trapped lioness, walked to and fro 
across the marble floor, while 
thought chased thought across 
her mind, each, as clouds scudding over 
the sea, for a moment casting its shadow 
in her deep eyes. 
' So thou art come, Harmachis,' she said, resting for a 
while, as she took my hand. ' Counsel me, for never did I 
need counsel more. Oh, what days have the Gods measured 
out to me — days restless as the ocean ! I have known no 
peace from childhood up, and it seems none shall I ever 
know. Scarce by a very little have I escaped thy dagger's 
point, Harmachis, when this new trouble, that, like a 
storm, has gathered beneath the horizon's rim, suddenly 
bursts over me. Didst mark that tigerish fop ? Well should 




172 CLEOPATRA 

I love to trap him ! How soft he spoke ! Ay, he purred 
like a cat, and all the time he stretched his claws. Didst 
hear the letter, too ? it has an ugly sound. I know this 
Antony. When I was but a child, budding into womanhood, 
I saw him ; but my eyes were ever quick, and I took his mea- 
sure. Half Hercules and half a fool, with a dash of genius 
veining his folly through. Easily led by those who enter at 
the gates of his voluptuous sense ; but if crossed, an iron foe. 
True to his friends, if, indeed he loves them ; and ofttimes 
false to his own interest. Generous, hardy, and in adversity 
a man of virtue ; in prosperity a sot and a slave to woman. 
That is Antony. How deal with such a man, whom fate and 
opportunity, despite himself, have set on the crest of fortune's 
wave ? One day it will overwhelm him ; but till that day he 
sweeps across the world and laughs at those who drown.' 

' Antony is but a man,' I answered, ' and a man with many 
foes ; and, being but a man, he can be overthrown.' 

' Ay, he can be overthrown ; but he is one of three, Har- 
machis. Now that Cassius hath gone where all fools go, 
Eome has thrown out a hydra head. Crush one, and another 
hisses in thy face. There's Lepidus, and, with him, that 
young Octavianus, whose cold eyes may yet with a smile of 
triumph look on the murdered forms of empty, worthless 
Lepidus, of Antony, and of Cleopatra. If I go not to Cilicia, 
mark thou ! Antony will knit up a peace with these Parthians, 
and, taking the tales they tell of me for truth — and, indeed, 
there is truth in them — will fall with all his force on Egypt. 
And J low then ? ' 

' How then ? Why, then we'll drum him back to Rome' 

' Ah ! thou sayest so, and, perchance, llarmachis, had I 
not, won that game we played together some twelve days gone 1 , 
thou, being Pharaoh, mightest well have; done this tiling, for 
round thy throne old Egypt would have gathered. But Egypt 



CLEOPATRA 173 

loves not me nor my Greek blood; and 1 have but now 
scattered that great plot of tliine, in which half the land was 
meshed. Will these men, then, arise to succour me ? Were 
3 [>t true to me, I could, indeed, hold my own against all 
the force that Rome may bring ; but Egypt hates me, and 
had as lief be ruled by the Roman as the Greek. Still I might 
make defence had I the gold, for with money soldiers 
can be bought to feed the maw of mercenary battle. But 
I have none ; my treasuries are dry, and though there is 
wealth in the land, yet debts perplex me. These wars have 
brought me ruin, and I know not how to find a talent. Per- 
chance, Harmachis, thou who art, by hereditary right, Priest 
of the Pyramids,' and she drew near and looked me in the 
eyes, ■ perchance, if long descended rumour does not lie, thou 
canst tell me where I can touch the gold to save thy land from 
ruin, and thy Love from the grasp of Antony ? Say, is it so ? ' 

I thought a while, and then I answered : 

' And if such a tale were true, and if I could show thee 
treasure stored by the mighty Pharaohs of the most far off age 
against the needs of Khem, how can I know that thou wouldst 
indeed make use of that wealth to those good ends ? ' 

' Is there, then, a treasure ? ' she asked curiously. ■ Nay, 
fret me not, Harmachis ; for of a truth the very name of gold 
at this time of want is like the sight of water in the desert.' 

I I believe,' I said, ' that there is such a treasure, though I 
myself have never seen it. But I know this, that if it still lie 
in the place where it was set, it is because so heavy a curse 
will rest upon him who shall lay hands on it wickedly and 
for selfish ends, that none of those Pharaohs to whom it has 
been shown have dared to touch it, however sore their need.' 

1 So,' she said, ' they were cowardly aforetime, or else their 
need was not great. W T ilt thou show me this treasure, then, 
Harmachis ? ' 



174 CLEOPATRA 

'Perhaps,' I answered, 'I will show it to thee if it still 
be there, when thou hast sworn that thou wilt use it to defend 
Egypt from this Roman Antony and for the welfare of her 
people.' 

' I swear it ! ' she said earnestly. 'Oh, I swear by every 
God in Khem that if thou showest me this great treasure, I 
will defy Antony and send Dellius back to Cilicia with sharper 
words than those he brought. Yes, I'll do more, Har- 
machis : so soon as may be, I will take thee to husband before 
all the world, and thou thyself shalt carry out thy plans and 
beat off the Roman eagles.' 

Thus she spoke, gazing at me with truthful, earnest eyes. 
I believed her, and for the first time since my fall was for 
a moment happy, thinking that all was not lost to me, and 
that with Cleopatra, whom I loved thus madly, I might yet 
win my place and power back. 

1 Swear it, Cleopatra ! ' I said. 

' I swear, beloved ! and thus I seal my oath ! ' and she 
kissed me on the forehead. And I, too, kissed her ; and we 
talked of what we would do when we were wed, and how we 
should overcome the Roman. 

And thus I was again beguiled ; though I believe that, 
had it not been for the jealous anger of Charmion — 
which, as shall be seen, was ever urging her forward to fresh 
deeds of shame — Cleopatra would have wedded me and broken 
with the Roman. And, indeed, in the issue, it had been better 
for her and Egypt. 

We sat far into the night, and I revealed to her somewhat 
of Hint ancient secret of the mighty treasure hid beneath the 
mass of Her* Thither, it was agreed, we should go on the 
morrow, and fche second night from now attempt its search. 
Bo, early on the next day, a. boat was secretly made ready, 
and Cleopatra entered it, veiled as an Egyptian lady about 



CLEOPATRA 175 

to make a pilgrimage to the Temple of Boremkhu. And I 
also entered, cloaked as a pilgrim, and with us ten of her 
most trusted servants disguised as sailors. But Charmion 
went not with us. We sailed with a fair wind from the 
Canopic mouth of the Nile; and that night, pushing on 
with the moon, we reached Sais at midnight, and here rested 
for a while. At dawn we once more loosed our craft, and 
all that day sailed swiftly, till, at last, at the third hour 
from the sunset, we came in sight of the lights of that 
fortress which is called Babylon. Here, on the opposite 
bank of the river, we moored our ship safely in a bed of 
reeds. 

Then, on foot and secretly, we set out for the pyramids, 
which were at a distance of two leagues, Cleopatra, I and one 
trusted eunuch, for we left the other servants with the boat. 
Only I caught an ass for Cleopatra to ride that was wan- 
dering in a tilled field, and threw a cloak upon it. She sat 
on it and I led the ass by paths I knew, the eunuch following 
us on foot. And, within little more than an hour, having gained 
the great causeway, we saw the mighty pyramids towering up 
through the moonlit air and aweing us to silence. We passed 
on in utter silence, through the haunted city of the dead, for 
all around us stood the solemn tombs, till at length we climbed 
the rocky hill, and stood in the deep shadow of Khufu Khut, 
the splendid Throne of Khufu. 

1 Of a truth,' whispered Cleopatra, as she gazed up the 
dazzling marble slope above her, everywhere blazoned over 
with a million mystic characters — ' of a truth, there were 
Gods ruling in Khem in those days, and not men. This place 
is sad as Death- -ay, and as mighty and far from man. Is it 
here that we must enter ? ' 

1 Nay,' I answered, ' it is not here. Pass on.' 

I led the way through a thousand ancient tombs, till we 



176 CLEOPATRA 

stood in the shadow of Ur the Great, and gazed at his red, 
heaven-piercing mass. 

1 Is it here that we must enter ? ' she whispered once 
again. 

' Nay,' I answered, ' it is not here. Pass on.' 

We passed on through many more tombs, till we stood 
in the shadow of Her, 1 and Cleopatra gazed astonished at its 
polished beauty, which for thousands of years, night by night, 
had mirrored back the moon, and at the black girdle of 
Ethiopian stone that circled its base about. For this is the 
most beautiful of all pyramids. 

Is it here that we must enter ? ' she said. 

I answered, ' It is here.' 

We passed round between the Temple of the Worship of 
his Divine Majesty, Menkau-ra, the Osirian, and the base of 
the pyramid till we came to the north side. Here in the 
centre is graved the name of Pharaoh Menkau-ra, who built 
the pyramid to be his tomb, and stored his treasure in it 
against the need of Khem. 

' If the treasure still remains,' I said to Cleopatra, ' as it 
remained in the days of my great-great-grandfather, who was 
Priest of this Pyramid before me, it is hid deep in the womb 
of the mass before thee, Cleopatra ; nor can it be come by 
without toil, danger, and terror of mind. Art thou pre- 
pared to enter — for thou thyself must enter and must 
judge?' 

' Canst thou not go in with the eunuch, Harmachis, and 
bring the treasure forth ? ' she said, for a little her courage 

an to fail her. 

'Nay, Cleopatra,' I answered, 'not even fur thee and 
1*< »• the weal of Egypt can I do this thing, for of all sins it 
would be the greatest sin. But it is lawful for me to do this. 
1 The ' Upper,' now known us the Third Pyramid.— Ed. 



CLEOPATRA 177 

I, as hereditary holder of the secret, may, upon demand, show 
to the ruling monarch o\' Kliem the place where the treasure 
lies, and show also the warning that is written. And if on 
seeing and reading, the Pharaoh deems that the need of 
Kluun is so sore and strait that it is lawful for him to brave 
the curse of the Dead and draw forth the treasure, it is well, 
for on his head must rest the weight of this dread deed. 
Three monarch s — so say the records that I have read — have 
thus dared to enter in the time of need. They were the 
Divine Queen Hat-shepsu, that wonder known to the Gods 
alone ; her Divine brother Tahutimes Men-Kheper-ra ; and 
the Divine Eameses Mi-amen. But of these three Majesties, 
not one when they saw dared to touch ; for, though sharp 
their need, it was not great enough to consecrate the act. So, 
fearing lest the curse should fall upon them, they went hence 
sorrowing.' 

She thought a little, till at last her spirit overcame her 
fear. 

1 At the least I will see with mine own eyes,' she said. 

1 It is well,' I answered. Then, stones having been piled 
up by me and the eunuch who was with us on a certain spot 
at the base of the pyramid, to somewhat more than the height 
of a man, I climbed on them and searched for the secret mark, 
no larger than a leaf. I found it with some trouble, for the 
weather and rubbing of the wind- stirred sand had worn even 
the Ethiopian stone. Having found it, I pressed on it with all 
my strength in a certain fashion. Even after the lapse of 
many years the stone swung round, showing a little opening, 
through which a man might scarcely creep. As it swung, a 
mighty bat, white in colour as though with unreckoned age, 
and such as I had never seen before for bigness, for his 
measure was the measure of a hawk, flew forth and for a 
moment hovered over Cleopatra, then sailed slowly up and 

N 



178 CLEOTATRA 

up in circles, till at last lie was lost in the bright light of the 
moon. 

But Cleopatra uttered a cry of terror, and the eunuch, who 
was watching, fell down in fear, believing it to be the guardian 
Spirit of the pyramid. And I, too, feared, though I said 
nothing. For even now I believe that it was the Spirit of 
Menkau-ra, the Osirian, who, taking the form of a bat, flew 
forth from his holy House in warning. 

I waited a while, till the foul air should clear from the 
passage. Then I drew out the lamps, kindled them, and 
passed them, to the number of three, into the entrance of the 
passage. This done, I went to the eunuch, and, taking 
him aside, I swore him by the living spirit of Him who sleeps 
at Abouthis that he should not reveal those things which 
he was about to see. 

This he swore, trembling sorely, for he was very much 
afraid. Nor, indeed, did he reveal them. 

This done, I clambered through the opening, taking with 
me a coil of rope, which I wound around my middle, and 
beckoned to Cleopatra to come. Making fast the skirt of her 
robe, she came, and I drew her through the opening, so that 
at length she stood behind me in the passage which is lined 
with slabs of granite. After her came the eunuch, and he 
also stood in the passage. Then, having taken counsel of 
the plan of the passage that I had brought with me, and 
which, in signs that none but the initiated can read, was 
copied from those ancient writings that had come down to me 
through one -and -forty generations of my predecessors, the 
Priests of this Pyramid of Her, and of the worship of the 
Temple of the Divine Menkau-ra, the Osirian, I led the way 
through that darksome place towards the utter silence of the 
tomb. Guided by Hie feeble light of our lamps, we passed 
down the steep Incline, gasping in the heat and the thick, 



CLEOPATRA 179 

Btagnated air. Presently we had left the region of the masonry 
and were slipping down a gallery hewn in the living rock. For 
twenty paces or more it ran steeply. Then its slope lessened 
and shortly we found ourselves in a chamber painted white, 
so low that I, being tall, had scarcely room to stand ; but in 
length four paces, and in breadth three, and cased throughout 
with sculptured panels. Here Cleopatra sank upon the floor 
and rested awhile, overcome by the heat and the utter dark- 
ness. 

1 Rise ! ' I said. ■ We must not linger here, or we faint.' 
So she rose, and, passing hand in hand through that 
chamber, we found ourselves face to face with a mighty door 
of granite, let down from the roof in grooves. Once more 
I took counsel of the plan, pressed with my foot upon a certain 
stone, and waited. Then, suddenly and softly, I know not 
by what means, the mass heaved itself from its bed of 
living rock. We passed beneath, and found ourselves face to 
face with a second door of granite. Again I pressed on a 
certain spot, and this door swung wide of itself, and we went 
through, to find ourselves face to face with a third door, yet 
more mighty than the two through which we had won our 
way. Following the secret plan, I struck this door with my 
foot upon a certain spot, and it sank slowly as though at a 
word of magic till its head was level with the floor of rock. 
We crossed and gained another passage which, descending 
gently for a length of fourteen paces, led us into a great 
chamber, paved with black marble, more than nine cubits 
high, by nine cubits broad, and thirty cubits long. In this 
marble floor was sunk a great sarcophagus of granite, and on 
its lid were graved the name and titles of the Queen of 
Menkau-ra. In this chamber, too, the air was purer, though 
I know not by what means it came thither. 
1 Is the treasure here ? ' gasped Cleopatra. 

N 2 



180 CLEOPATRA 

' Nay,' I answered ; ■ follow me,' and I led the way to a 
gallery, which we entered through an opening in the floor of 
the great chamber. It had been closed by a trap-door of 
stone, but the door was open. Creeping along this shaft, or 
passage, for some ten paces, we came at length to a well, 
seven cubits in depth. Making fast one end of the rope that I 
had brought about my body and the other to a ring in the 
rock, I was lowered, holding the lamp in my hand, till I stood 
in the last resting-place of the Divine Menkau-ra. Then the 
rope was drawn up, and Cleopatra, being made fast to it, 
was let down by the eunuch, and I received her in my arms. 
But I bade the eunuch, sorely against his will, since he feared 
to be left alone, await our return at the mouth of the shaft. 
For it was not lawful that he should enter whither we went. 



CLEOPATRA 



181 



CHAPTER XI. 

OF THE TOMB OF THE DIVINE MENKAU-RA | OF THE WHITING 
ON THE BREAST OF MENKAU-RA J OF THE DRAWING FORTH 
OF THE TREASURE ; OF THE DWELLER IN THE TOMB ; AND 
OF THE FLIGHT OF CLEOPATRA AND HARMACHIS FROM THE 
HOLY PLACE. 



stood within a small arched 
chamber, paved and lined with 
great blocks of the granite stone 
of Syene. There before us — 
hewn from a single mass of basalt 
shaped like a wooden house and 
resting on a sphinx with a face of 
gold — was the sarcophagus of the 
Divine Menkau-ra. 

We stood and gazed in awe, for 
the weight of the silence and the 
solemnity of that holy place seemed to 
crush us. Above us, cubit over cubit in its mighty measure, 
the pyramid towered up to heaven and was kissed of the 
night air. But we were deep hi the bowels of the rock beneath 
its base. We were alone with the dead, whose rest we were 
about to break ; and no sound of the murmuring air, and no 
sight of life came to dull the awful edge of solitude. I gazed 
on the sarcophagus : its heavy lid had been lifted and rested 
at its side, and around it the dust of ages had gathered thick. 




1 82 CLEOPATRA 

1 See,' I whispered, pointing to a writing, daubed with 
pigment upon the wall in the sacred symbols of ancient times. 

'Bead it, ilarmachis,' answered Cleopatra, in the same 
low voice ; ' for I cannot.' 

Then I read : ' I, Rameses Mi-amen, in my day and in 
my hour of need, visited this sepulchre. But, though great 
my need and bold my heart, I dared not face the curse of 
Menkau-ra. Judge, thou who shalt come after me, and, if 
thy soul is pure and Khem be utterly distressed, take thou 
that which I have left.' 

1 Where, then, is the treasure ? ' she whispered. ' Is that 
Sphinx- face of gold ? ' 

4 Even there,' I answered, pointing to the sarcophagus. 
1 Draw near and see.' 

And she took my hand and drew near. 

The cover was off, but the painted coffin of the Pharaoh lay 
in the depths of the sarcophagus. We climbed the Sphinx, 
then I blew the dust from the coffin with my breath and read 
that which was written on its lid. And this was written : 

1 Pharaoh Menkau-ra, the Child of Heaven. 

1 Pharaoh Menkau-ra, Royal Son of the Sun. 

' Pharaoh Menkau-ra, who didst lie beneath the heart of 
Nout. 

' Nout, thy Mother, wraps thee in the spell of Her holy 
name. 

• The name of thy Mother, Nout, is the mystery of Heaven. 

' Nout, thy Mother, gathers thee to the number of the 
Gods. 

1 Nout, thy Mother, breathes on thy foes and utterly 
destroys them. 

1 Pharaoh Menkau-ra, who livest for ever! ' 

' Where, then, is the treasure?' she asked again. 'Here, 
indeed, is the body of the Divine Menkau-ra; but the flesh even 



CLEOPATRA 183 

of Pharaohs is not gold, and if the face of this Sphinx be gold 
how may we move it ? ' 

For answer 1 bade her stand upon the Sphinx and grasp 
the upper part of the coffin while I grasped its foot. Then, 
at my word, we lifted, and the lid of the case, which w T as not 
fixed, came away, and we set it upon the floor. And there 
in the case was the mummy of Pharaoh, as it had been laid 
three thousand years before. It was a large mummy, and 
somewhat ungainly. Nor was it adorned with a gilded mask, 
as is the fashion of our day, for the head was wrapped in 
cloths yellow with age, which were made fast with pink 
flaxen bandages, under which were pushed the stems of lotus- 
blooms. And on the breast, wreathed round with lotus- 
flowers, lay a large plate of gold closely written over with 
sacred writing. I lifted up the plate, and, holding it to the 
light, I read : 

1 I, Menkau-ra, the Osirian, aforetime Pharaoh of the Land 
of Khem, loho in my day did live justly and ever walked in 
the path marked for my feet by the decree of the Invisible, 
ivlio was the beginning and is the end, speak from my tomb to 
those who after me shall for an hour sit upon my Throne. 
Behold, I, Menkau-ra, the Osirian, having in the days of my 
life been warned of a dream that a time will come when Khem 
shall fear to fall into the hands of strangers, and her monarch 
shall have great need of treasure wherewith to furnish armies 
to drive ike barbarian back, have out of my wisdom done this 
thing. For it having pleased the protecting Gods to give me 
wealth beyond any Pharaoh who has been since the days of 
Horus — thousands of cattle and geese, thousands of calves 
and asses, thousands of measures of corn, and hundreds of 
measures of gold and gems ; this wealth, I have used sparingly, 
and that which remains I have bartered for precious stones — 
even for emeralds, the most beautiful and largest that arc in 



1 84 CLEOPATRA 

the world. These stones, then, I have stored up against that 
day of the need of Khem. But because as there have been, so 
there shall be, those who do wickedly on the earth, and ivho, 
in the lust of gain, might seize this ivealth that I have stored, 
and put it to their uses ; behold, thou Unborn One, who in 
the fulness of time shalt stand above me and read this that I 
have caused to be written, I have stored the treasure thus — 
even among my bones. Therefore, thou Unborn One, sleep- 
ing in the womb of Nout, I say this to thee I If thou indeed 
hast need of riches to save Khem from the foes of Khem, fear 
not and delay not, but tear me, the Osirian, from my tomb, 
loose my torappings and rip the treasure from my breast, and 
all shall be loell with thee ; for this only do I command, that 
thou dost replace my bones within my hollow coffin. But if 
the need be 'passing and not great, or if there be guile in 
thy heart, then the curse of Menkau-ra be on thee ! On thee 
be the curse that shall smite him ivho breaks in upon the 
dead ! On thee be the curse that folloius the traitor ! On thee 
be the curse that smites him ivho outrages the Majesty of the 
Gods ! Unhappy shalt thou live, in blood and misery shalt 
thou die, and in misery shalt thou be tormented for ever and 
forever! For, Wicked One, there in Amenti we shall come 
face to face ! 

' And to the end of the keeping of this secret I, Men- 
kau-ra, have set up a Temple of my Worship, which I have 
built upon the eastern side of this my House of Death. It shall 
be made known from time to time to the Hereditary High 
Priest of this my Temple. And if any High Priest that shall 
be do reveal this secret to another than the Pharaoh, or Her 
ivho wears the Pharaoh's crown and is seated upon the throne 
i f Khem, accursed be he also. Thus have I, Menkau-ra, the 
Osirian, written. Now to thee, who, sleeping in the womb of 
Nout, yet shall upon a lime stand over me and read, I say, 






CLEOPATRA 185 

judge thou ! and if thou judgest evilly, on thee shall fall this 
thi 1 curse of Menkau-ra from which there is no escape. Greet- 
ing a nd farewell.'' 

1 Thou hast heard, Cleopatra,' I said solemnly ; ' now 
search thy heart ; judge thou, and for thine own sake judge 
justly.' 

She bent her head in thought. 

' I fear to do this thing,' she said presently. ' Let us hence.' 

1 It is well,' I said, with a lightening of the heart, and 
bent down to lift the wooden lid. For I, too, feared. 

1 And yet, what said the writing of the Divine Menkau* 
ra ? — it was emeralds, was it not ? And emeralds are now 
so rare and hard to come by. Ever did I love emeralds, and 
I can never find them without a flaw. 

1 It is not a matter of what thou dost love, Cleopatra,' I 
said ; ' it is matter of the need of Khem and of the secret 
meaning of thy heart, which thou alone canst know.' 

1 Ay, surely, Harmachis ; surely ! And is not the need 
of Egypt great ? There is no gold in the treasury, and how 
can I defy the Roman if I have no gold ? And have I not 
sworn to thee that I will wed thee and defy the Roman ; and 
do I not swear it again — yes, even in this solemn hour, with 
my hand upon dead Pharaoh's heart? Why, here is that 
occasion of which the Divine Menkau-ra dreamed. Thou 
seest it is so, for else Hat-shepsu or Rameses or some other 
Pharaoh had drawn forth the gems. But no ; they left them 
to this hour because the time was not yet come. Now it must 
be come, for if I take not the gems the Roman will surely seize 
on Egypt, and then there will be no Pharaoh to whom the 
secret may be told. Nay, let us away with fears and to the 
work. Why dost look so frightened ? Having pure hearts, 
there is naught to fear, Harmachis.' 

1 Even as thou wilt, ' I said again ; * it is for thee to judge, 



1 86 CLEOPATRA 

since if thou judgest falsely on thee will surely fall the curse 
from which there is no escape.' 

1 So, Harmachis, take Pharaoh's head and I will take 

his Oh, what an awful place is this ! ' and suddenly she 

clung to me. ' Methought I saw a shadow yonder in the 
darkness ! Methought that it moved toward us and then 
straightway vanished ! Let us be going ! Didst thou see 
naught ? ' 

' I saw nothing, Cleopatra ; but mayhap it was the Spirit 
of the Divine Menkau-ra, for the spirit ever hovers round 
its mortal tenement. Let us, then, be going ; I shall be right 
glad to go.' 

She made as though to start, then turned back again and 
spoke once more. 

1 It was naught — naught but the mind that, in such a 
house of Horror, bodies forth those shadowy forms of fear 
it dreads to see. Nay, I must look upon these emeralds : 
indeed, if I die, I must look ! Come — to the work ! ' and 
stooping, she with her own hands lifted from the tomb one of 
the four alabaster jars, each sealed with the graven likeness 
of the heads of the protecting Gods, that held the holy heart 
and entrails of the Divine Menkau-ra. But nothing was found 
in these jars, save only what should be there. 

Then together we mounted on the Sphinx, and with toil 
drew forth the body of the Divine Pharaoh, laying it on the 
ground. Now Cleopatra took my dagger, and with it cut 
loose the bandages which held the wrappings in their place, 
and the lotus-flowers that had been set in them by loving 
hands, three thousand years before, fell down upon the pave- 
ment. Then we searched and found the end of the outer 
bandage, which was fixed in at the hinder part of the neck, 
This we cut loose, for it was glued fast. This done, we began 
to unroll the wrappings of the holy corpse. Setting mj 



CLEOPATRA 



187 



Bhoulders against the sarcophagus, I sat upon the rocky floor, 
the body resting on my knees, and, as I turned it, Cleopatra 
unwound the cloths ; and awesome was the task. Presently 
something fell out ; it was the sceptre of the Pharaoh, fashioned 
of gold, and at its end was a pomegranate cut from a single 
emerald. 

Cleopatra seized the sceptre and gazed on it in silence. Then 
once more we went on with our dread business. And ever as 
we unwound, other ornaments of gold, such as are buried with 
Pharaohs, fell from the wrappings— collars and bracelets, 
models of sistra, an inlaid axe, and an image of the holy Osiris 
and of the holy Khem. At length all the bandages were un- 
wound, and beneath we found a covering of coarsest linen ; 
for in those very ancient days the craftsmen were not so skilled 
in matters pertaining to the embalming of the body as they are 
now. And on the linen was written in an oval, ' Menkau-ra, 
Eoyal Son of the Sun.' We could in no wise loosen this linen, 
it held so firm on to the body. Therefore, faint with the great 
heat, choked with mummy dust and the odour of spices, and 
trembling with fear of our unholy task, wrought in that most 
lonesome and holy place, we laid the body down, and ripped 
away the last covering with the knife. First we cleared 
Pharaoh's head, and now the face that no man had gazed on 
for three thousand years was open to our view. It was a great 
face, with a bold brow, yet crowned with the royal ura3us, 
beneath which the white locks, stained yellow by the spices, 
fell in long, straight wisps. Not the cold stamp of death, and 
not the slow flight of three thousand years, had found power 
to mar the dignity of those shrunken features. We gazed on 
them, and then, made bold with fear, stripped the covering 
from the body. There at last it lay before us, stiff, yellow, 
and dread to see ; and on the left side, above the thigh, was 
the cut through which the embalmers had done their work, 



1 88 CLEOPATRA 

but it was sewn up so deftly that we could scarcely find the 
mark. 

' The gems are within,' I whispered, for I felt that the 
body was very heavy. ' Now, if thy heart fail thee not, thou 
must make an entry to this poor house of clay that once was 
Pharaoh,' and I gave her the dagger — the same dagger which 
had drunk the life of Paulus. 

1 It is too late to doubt,' she answered, lifting her white 
beauteous face and fixing her blue eyes all big with terror 
upon my own. She took the dagger, and with set teeth the 
Queen of this day plunged it into the dead breast of 
Pharaoh of three thousand years ago. And even as she did 
so there came a groaning sound from the opening to the shaft 
where we had left the eunuch ! We leapt to our feet, but 
heard no more, and the lamp-light still streamed down 
through the opening. 

' It is nothing,' I said. ' Let us make an end.' 

Then with much toil we hacked and rent the hard flesh 
open, and as we did so I heard the knife point grate upon the 
gems within. 

Cleopatra plunged her hand into the dead breast and drew 
forth somewhat. She held it to the light, and gave a little cry, 
for from the darkness of Pharaoh's heart there flashed into 
light and life the most beauteous emerald that ever man be- 
held. It was perfect in colour, very large, without a flaw, and 
fashioned to a scarabaeus form, and on the under side was an 
oval, inscribed with the divine name of Menkau-ra, Son of the 
Sun. 

Again, again, and yet again, she plunged in her hand and 
drew great emeralds from Pharaoh's breast bedded there in 
spici . Some were fashioned and some were; not; but all 
w< re perfect in colour withoul a flaw, and in value priceless. 
A.'Min and again she plunged her white hand into that dread 




She held it to the light and gave a little cry. 



CLEOPATRA 189 

breast, till at length all were found, and there were one 
hundred and forty and eight of such gems as are not known 
in the world. The last time that she searched she brought 
forth not emeralds, indeed, but two great pearls, wrapped in 
linen, such as never have been seen. And of these pearls 
more hereafter 

So it was done, and all the mighty treasure lay glittering 
in a heap before us. There it lay, and there, too, lay the 
regalia of gold, the spiced and sickly-scented wrappings, and 
the torn body of white-haired Pharaoh Menkau-ra, the Osirian, 
the ever living in Amenti. 

We rose, and a great awe fell upon us, now that the deed 
was done and our hearts were no more upborne by the 
rage of search — so great an awe, indeed, that we could not 
speak. I made a sign to Cleopatra. She grasped the head 
of Pharaoh and I grasped his feet, and together we lifted him, 
climbed the Sphinx, and placed him once more within his 
coffin. I piled the torn mummy cloths over him and on them 
laid the lid of the coffin. 

And now we gathered up the great gems, and such of the 
ornaments as might be carried with ease, and I hid them as 
many as I could, in the folds of my robe. Those that were 
left Cleopatra hid upon her breast. Heavily laden with the 
priceless treasure, we gave one last look at the solemn place, 
at the sarcophagus and the Sphinx on which it rested, whose 
gleaming face of calm seemed to mock us with its everlasting 
smile of wisdom. Then we turned and went from the tomb. 

At the shaft we halted. I called to the eunuch, who stayed 
above, and methought that a faint mocking laugh answered 
me. Too smitten with terror to call again, and fearing that, 
should we delay, Cleopatra would certainly swoon, I seized the 
rope, and being strong and quick mounted by it and gained 
the passage. There burnt the lamp : but the eunuch I saw 



iqo CLEOPA TRA 

not. Thinking, surely, that he was a little way down the 
passage, and slept— as, in truth, he did — I bade Cleopatra 
make the rope fast about her middle, and with much labour, 
drew her up. Then, having rested awhile, we moved with the 
lamps to seek for the eunuch. 

' He was stricken with terror and has fled, leaving the 
lamp,' said Cleopatra. ' ye Gods ! who is that seated 
there ? ' 

I peered into the darkness, thrusting out the lamps, and 
this was what their light fell on— this at the very dream of 
which my soul sickens ! There, facing us, his back resting 
against the rock, and his hands splayed on either side upon 
the floor, sat the eunuch — dead ! His eyes and mouth were open, 
his fat cheeks dropped down, his thin hair yet seemed to 
bristle, and on his countenance was frozen such a stamp of 
hideous terror as well might turn the beholder's brain. And 
lo ! fixed to his chin, by its hinder claws, hung that grey and 
mighty bat, which, flying forth when we entered the pyramid, 
vanished in the sky, but, returning, had followed us to 
its depths. There it hung upon the dead man's chin slowly 
rocking itself to and fro, and we could see the fiery eyes shin- 
ing in its head. 

Aghast, utterly aghast, we stood and stared at the hateful 
sight ; till presently the bat spread his huge wings and, loosing 
his hold, sailed to us. Now he hovered before Cleopatra's face, 
fanning her with his white wings. Then with a scream, like 
a woman's shriek of fury, the accursed Thing flittered on, 
seeking his violated tomb, and vanished down the well into 
the sepulchre. I fell against the wall. But Cleopatra sank 
in a heap upon the floor, and, covering her head with her 
arms, she shrieked till the hollow passages rang with the 
echoes of her cries, that seemed to grow and double and rush 
along the depths in volumes of shrill sound. 



CLEOPATRA 191 

'Rise! ' I cried, ■ rise and let us hence before the Spirit shall 
return to haunt us? If thou dost suffer thyself to be over- 
whelmed in this place thou art lost for ever.' 

She staggered to her feet, and never may I forget the look 
upon her ashy face or in her glowing eyes. Seizing lamps 
with a rush, we passed the dead eunuch's horrid form, I 
holding her by the hand. We gained the great chamber, 
where was the sarcophagus of the Queen of Menkau-ra, and 
traversed its length. We fled along the passage. What if 
the Thing had closed the three mighty doors ? No ; they 
were open, and we sped through them ; the last only did I 
stay to close. I touched the stone, as I knew how, and the 
great door crashed down, shutting us off from the presence of 
the dead eunuch and the Horror that had hung upon the 
eunuch's chin. Now we were in the white chamber with the 
sculptured panels, and now we faced the last steep ascent. 
Oh that last ascent ! Twice Cleopatra slipped and fell upon the 
polished floor. The second time — it was when half the dis- 
tance had been done — she let fall her lamp, and would, indeed, 
have rolled down the slide had I not saved her. But in 
doing thus I, too, let fall my lamp that bounded away into 
shadow beneath us, and we were in utter darkness. And 
perchance about us, in the darkness, hovered that awful 
Thing ! 

' Be brave ! ' I cried ; ' love, be brave, and struggle on, 
or both are lost ! The way, though steep, is not far ; and, 
though it be dark, we can scarce come to harm in this straight 
shaft. If the gems weight thee, cast them away ! ' 

1 Nay,' she gasped, ' that I will not ; this shall not be en- 
dured to no end. I die with them ! ' 

Then it was that I saw the greatness of this woman's 
heart ; for in the dark, and notwithstanding the terrors we had 
passed and the awfulness of our state, she clung to me and 



192 CLEOPATRA 

clambered on up that dread passage. On we clambered, hand 
in hand, with bursting hearts, till there, by the mercy or 
the anger of the Gods, at length we saw the faint light of the 
moon, creeping through the little opening in the pyramid. 
One struggle more, now the hole was gained, and like a breath 
from heaven, the sweet night air played upon our brows. I 
climbed through, and, standing on the pile of stones, lifted 
and dragged Cleopatra after me. She fell to the ground and 
then sank down upon it motionless. 

I pressed upon the turning stone with trembling hands. 
It swung to and caught, leaving no mark of the secret place of 
entry. Then I leapt down and, having pushed away the pile 
of stones, looked on Cleopatra. She had swooned, and not- 
withstanding the dust and grime upon her face, it was so pale 
that at first I believed she must be dead. But placing my 
hand upon her heart I felt it stir beneath ; and, being spent, 
I flung myself down beside her upon the sand, to gather up 
my strength again. 



CLEOPATRA 



"A3 



CHAPTER XII. 

OF THE COMING BACK OF HAEMACHIS | OF THE GKEETING 
OF CHAKMION ; AND OF THE ANSWER OF CLEOPATEA TO 
QUINTUS DELLIUS, THE AMBASSADOR OF ANTONY THE 
TRIUMVIR. 



RESENTLY I lifted myself, and, 
laying the head of Egypt's Queen 
upon my knee, strove to call her 
back to life. How fair she seemed, 
even in her disarray, her long hair 
streaming down her breast ! how 
deadly fair she seemed in the faint 
light — this woman the story of 
whose beauty and whose sin shall outlive the solid 
mass of the mighty pyramid that towered over us ! 
The heaviness of her swoon had smoothed away 
the falseness of her face, and nothing was left but 
the divine stamp of Woman's richest loveliness, softened by 
shadows of the night and dignified by the cast of deathlike 
sleep. I gazed upon her and all my heart went out to her ; 
it seemed that I did but love her more because of the depth 
of the treasons to which I had sunk to reach her, and because 
of the terrors we had outfaced together. Weary and spent 
with fears and the pangs of guilt, my heart sought hers for 
rest, for now she alone was left to me. She had sworn to 
wod me also, and with the treasure we had won we would 

o 




194 CLEOPA TRA 

make Egypt strong and free her from her foes, and all should 
yet be well. Ah ! could I have seen the picture that was to 
come, how, and in what place and circumstance, once again 
this very woman's head should be laid upon my knee, pale 
with that cast of death ! Ah ! could I have seen ! 

I chafed her hand between my hands. I bent down and 
kissed her on the lips, and at my kiss she woke. She woke 
with a little sob of fear — a shiver ran along her delicate limbs, 
and she stared upon my face with wide eyes. 

1 Ah ! it is thou ! ' she said. ' I mind me — 'thou hast 
saved me from that horror-haunted place ! ' And she threw 
her arms about my neck, drew me to her and kissed me. 
1 Come, love,' she said, ' let us be going ! I am sore athirst, 
and — ah ! so very weary ! The gems, too, chafe my breast ! 
Never was wealth so hardly won ! Come, let us be going 
from the shadow of this ghostly spot ! See the faint lights 
glancing from the wings of Dawn. How beautiful they 
are, and how sweet to behold ! Never, in those Halls of 
Eternal Night, did I think to look upon the blush of dawn 
again ! Ah ! I can still see the face of that dead slave, with 
the Horror hanging to his beardless chin ! Bethink thee ! — 
there he'll sit for ever — there — with the Horror ! Come ; 
where may we find water ? I would give an emerald for a 
cup of water ! ' 

1 At the canal on the borders of the tilled land below the 
Temple of Horemkhu — it is close by,' I answered. ' If any 
see us, we will say that we are pilgrims who have lost our 
way at night among the tombs. Veil thyself closely, there- 
fore, Cleopatra; and beware lest thou dost show aught of 
those gems about thee.' 

Bo she veiled herself, and 1 lifted her on to the ass which 

tethered near at hand. We walked slowly through the 

plain till we came to the place where the symbol of the God 



CLEOPATRA 195 

Horemkhu, 1 fashioned as b mighty Sphinx (whom the Greeks 
call Harmachis), and crowned with the royal crown of Egypt, 
Looks out in majesty across the land, his eyes ever fixed upon 
the East. As we walked the first arrow of the rising sun 
quivered through the grey air, striking upon Horemkhu's 
lips of holy calm, and the Dawn kissed her greeting to the 
God of Dawn. Then the light gathered and grew upon the 
gleaming sides of twenty pyramids, and, like a promise from Life 
to Death, rested on the portals of ten thousand tombs. It 
poured in a flood of gold across the desert sand — it pierced 
the heavy sky of night, and fell in bright beams upon the 
green of fields and the tufted crest of palms. Then from his 
horizon bed royal Ra rose up in pomp and it was day. 

Passing the temple of granite and of alabaster that was built 
before the days of Khufu, to the glory of the Majesty of 
Horemkhu, we descended the slope, and came to the banks of 
the canal. There we drank ; and that draught of muddy 
water was sweeter than all the choicest wine of Alexandria. 
Also we washed the mummy dust and grime from our hands 
and brows and made us clean. As she bathed her neck, 
stooping over the water, one of the great emeralds slipped 
from Cleopatra's breast and fell into the canal, and it w r as but 
by chance that at length I found it in the mire. Then, once 
more, I lifted Cleopatra on to the beast, and slowly, for I was 
very weary, we marched back to the banks of Sihor. where 
our craft was. And having at length come thither, seeing no 
one save some few peasants going out to labour on the lands, 
I turned the ass loose in that same field where we had found 
him, and we boarded the craft while the crew were yet sleep- 
ing. Then, waking them, we bade them make all sail, saying 

1 That is, ' Horus on the horizon ' ; and signifies the power of Light 
and Good overcoming the power of Darkness and Evil incarnate in his 
enemy, Typhon. — Ed. 

o 2 



196 CLEOPATRA 

that we had left the eunuch to sojourn awhile behind us, as 
in truth we had. So we sailed, having first hidden away the 
gems and such of the ornaments of gold as we could bring to 
the boat. 

We spent four days and more in coming to Alexandria, 
for the wind was for the most part against us ; and they were 
happy days ! At first, indeed, Cleopatra was somewhat silent 
and heavy at heart, for what she had seen and felt in the 
womb of the pyramid weighed her down. But soon her 
Imperial spirit awoke and shook the burden from her breast, 
and she became herself again — now gay, now learned ; now 
loving, and now cold ; now queenly, and now altogether 
simple — ever changing as the winds of heaven, and as the 
heaven, deep, beauteous, and unsearchable ! 

Night after night for those four perfect nights, the last 
happy hours I ever was to know, we sat hand in hand upon 
the deck and heard the waters lap the vessel's side, and 
watched the soft footfall of the moon as she trod the depths 
of Nile. There we sat and talked of love, talked of our 
marriage and all that we would do. Also I drew up plans of 
war and of defence against the Koman, which now we had 
the means to carry out ; and she approved them, sweetly 
saying that what seemed good to me was good to her. And 
so the time passed all too swiftly. 

Oh those nights upon the Nile ! their memory haunts me 
yet ! Yet in my dreams I see the moonbeams break and 
quiver, and hear Cleopatra's murmured words of love mingle 
with the sound of murmuring waters. Dead are those dear 
nights, dead is the moon that lit them ; the waters which 
rocked us on their breast arc lost in the wide salt sea, and 
where we kissed and clung there lips unborn shall kiss and 
cling ! How beautiful was their promise, doomed, like an 
unfruitful blossom, to wither, fall, and rot ! and their fulfil- 




'Oh those nights upon the Nile! 



CLEOPATRA 197 

ment, ah, liow drear ! For all things end in darkness and in 
ashes, and those who sow in folly shall reap in sorrow. Ah ! 
those nights upon the Nile ! 

And so at length once more we stood within the hateful 
walls of that fair palace on the Lochias, and the dream was 
done. 

4 Whither hast thou wandered with Cleopatra, Harmachis?' 
Charmion asked of me when I met her by chance on that day 
of return. ' On some new mission of betrayal ? Or was it but 
a love-journey ? ' 

' I went with Cleopatra upon secret business of the State,' 
I answered sternly. 

' So ! Those who go secretly, go evilly ; and foul birds love 
to fly at night. Not but what thou art wise, for it would scarce 
beseem thee, Harmachis, to show thy face openly in Egypt.' 

I heard, and felt my passion rise within me, for I could ill 
bear this fair girl's scorn. 

1 Hast thou never a word without a sting ? ' I asked. 
1 Know, then, that I went whither thou hadst not dared to go, 
to gather means to hold Egypt from the grasp of Antony.' 

' So,' she answered, looking up swiftly. ' Thou foolish 
man ! Thou hadst done better to save thy labour, for Antony 
will grasp Egypt in thy despite. What power hast thou to- 
day in Egypt ? ' 

1 That he may do in my despite ; but in despite of Cleopatra 
that he cannot do,' I said. 

1 Nay, but with the aid of Cleopatra he can and will do it,' 
she answered with a bitter smile. ' When the Queen sails in 
state up Cydnus stream she will surely draw this coarse 
Antony thence to Alexandria, conquering, and yet, like thee, 
a slave ! ' 

' It is false ! I say that it is false ! Cleopatra goes not 



198 CLEOPATRA 

to Tarsus, and Antony conies not to Alexandria ; or, if he 
come, it will be to take the chance of war.' 

' Now, thinkest thou thus ? ' she answered with a little 
laugh. ' Well, if it please thee, think as thou wilt. Within 
three days thou shalt know. It is pretty to see how easily 
thou art fooled. Farewell ! Go, dream on Love, for surely 
Love is sweet.' 

And she went, leaving me angered and troubled at heart. 

I saw Cleopatra no more that day, but on the day which 
followed I saw her. She was in a heavy mood, and had no 
gentle word for me. I spake to her of the defence of Egypt, 
but she put the matter away. 

1 Why dost thou weary me ? ' she said with anger ; ' canst 
thou not see that I am lost in troubles ? When Dellius 
has had his answer to-morrow then we will speak of these 
matters.' 

' Ay,' I said, ' when Dellius has had his answer ; and 
knowest thou that but yesterday, Charmion — whom about 
the palace they name the " Keeper of the Queen's secrets " — 
Charmion swore that the answer wculd be "Go in peace, I 
come to Antony ! " ' 

'Charmion knows nothing of my heart,' said Cleopatra, 
stamping her foot in anger, ' and if she talk so freely the girl 
shall be scourged out of my Court, as is her desert. 
Though, in truth,' she added, ' she has more wisdom in that 
small head of hers than all my privy councillors — ay, and 
more wit to use it. Knowest thou that I have sold a portion 
of those gems to the rich Jews of Alexandria, and at a givai 
price, ay, at five thousand sestertia for each one ? ' But a 
few, in truth, for they could not buy more as yet. It was rare 
to sec their eyes when they fell upon them : they grew large 

1 About forty thousand pounds of our money. EjD. 



CLEOPATRA 199 

as apples with avarice and wonder. And now leave me, 
Harmaohis, for I am weary. The memory of that dreadful 
night is with me yet. 1 

I bowed and rose to go, and yet stood wavering. 
1 Pardon me, Cleopatra ; it is of our marriage.' 
• Our marriage ! Why, are we not indeed already wed? ' 
she answered. 

1 Yes ; but not before the world. Thou didst promise.' 
' Ay, Harmachis, I promised ; and to-morrow, when I 
have rid me of this Dellius, I will keep my promise, and name 
thee Cleopatra's Lord before the Court. See that thou art in 
thy place. Art content ? ' 

And she stretched out her hand for me to kiss, looking on 
me with strange eyes, as though she struggled with herself. 
Then I went ; but that night I strove once more to see Cleo- 
patra, and could not. ' The Lady Charmion was with the 
Queen,' so said the eunuchs, and none might enter. 

On the morrow the Court met in the great hall one hour 
before mid-day, and I went thither with a trembling heart to 
hear Cleopatra's answer to Dellius, and to hear myself also 
named King-consort to the Queen of Egypt. It was a full 
and splendid Court ; there were councillors, lords, captains, 
eunuchs, and waiting -women, all save Charmion. The hour 
passed, but Cleopatra and Charmion came not. At length 
Charmion entered gently by a side entrance, and took her 
place among the waiting-ladies about the throne. Even as 
she did so she cast a glance at me, and there was triumph in 
her eyes, though I knew not over w T hat she triumphed. I 
little guessed that she had but now 7 brought about my ruin 
and sealed the fate of Egypt. 

Then presently the trumpets blared, and, clad in her robes 
of state, the urasus crown upon her head, and on her breast, 



200 CLEOPA TRA 

flashing like a star, that great emerald scarabasus which she 
had dragged from dead Pharaoh's heart, Cleopatra swept in 
splendour to her throne, followed by a glittering guard of 
Northmen. Her lovely face was dark, dark were her slumbrous 
eyes, and none might read their message, though all that 
Court searched them for a sign of what should come. She 
seated herself slowly as one who may not be moved, and spoke 
to the chief of the heralds in the Greek tongue : 

' Does the Ambassador of the noble Antony wait ? 

The herald bowed low and made assent. 

' Let him come in and hear our answer.' 

The doors were flung wide, and, followed by his train of 
knights, Dellius, clad in his golden armour and his purple 
mantle, walked with cat-like step up the great hall, and made 
obeisance before the throne. 

'Most royal and beauteous Egypt,' he said, in his soft 
voice, ' as thou hast graciously been pleased to bid me, thy 
servant, I am here to take thy answer to the letter of the noble 
Antony the Triumvir, whom to-morrow I sail to meet at Tarsus, 
in Cilicia. And I will say this, royal Egypt, craving pardon 
the while for the boldness of my speech — bethink thee well 
before words that cannot be unspoken fall from those sweet 
lips. Defy Antony, and Antony will wreck thee. But, like 
thy mother Aphrodite, rise glorious on his sight from the 
bosom of the Cyprian wave, and for wreck lie will give thee 
all that can be dear to woman's royalty — Empire, and pomp 
of place, cities and the sway of men, fame and wealth, and fche 
Diadem of rule made sure. For mark : Antony holds this 
Eastern World in the hollow of his warlike hand; at bis 
will kings are, and at his frown they cease to be.' 

And he bowed his head and, folding his hands meekly 
on his breast, awaited answer. 

For a while Cleopatra answered not, but sal like the Sp)iin\ 



CLEOPATRA 201 

Roremkhu, dumb and inscrutable, gazing with lost eyes down 
the Length of that great hall. 

Then, like soft music, her answer came; and trembling 
I listened for Egypt's challenge to the Roman : 

1 Noble Dellius, — We have bethought us much of the matter 
of thy message from great Antony to our poor Royalty of 
Egypt. We have bethought us much, and we have taken 
counsel from the oracles of the Gods, from the wisest among 
our friends, and from the teaching of our heart, that ever, like 
a nesting bird, broods over our people's weal. Sharp are the 
words that thou hast brought across the sea ; methinks they 
had been better fitted to the ears of some petty half-tamed 
prince than to those of Egypt's Queen. Therefore we have 
numbered the legions that we can gather, and the triremes 
and the galleys wherewith we may breast the sea, and the 
moneys which shall buy us all things wanting to our war. 
And we find this, that, though Antony be strong, yet has 
Egypt naught to fear from the strength of Antony.' 

She paused, and a murmur of applause of her high words 
ran down the hall. Only Dellius stretched out his hand as 
though to push them back. Then came the end ! 

' Noble Dellius, — Half are we minded there to bid our 
tongue stop, and, strong in our fortresses of stone, and our 
other fortresses built of the hearts of men, abide the issue. 
And yet thou shalt not go thus. We are guiltless of those 
charges against us that have come to the ears of noble Antony, 
and which now he rudely shouts in ours ; nor will we journey 
into Cilicia to answer them.' 

Here the murmur arose anew, while my heart beat high 
in triumph ; and in the pause that followed, Dellius spoke 
once more. 

1 Then, royal Egypt, my word to Antony is word of War?' 

' Nay,' she answered ; ' it shall be one of Peace. Listen : 



202 CLEOPATRA 

we said that we would not come to make answer to these 
charges, nor will we. But ' — and she smiled for the first time 
— ' we will gladly come, and that swiftly, in royal friendship 
to make known our fellowship of peace upon the banks of 
Cydnus.' 

I heard, and was bewildered. Could I hear aright ? Was 
it thus that Cleopatra kept her oaths ? Moved beyond the 
hold of reason, I lifted up my voice and cried : 

1 Queen, remember ! ' 

She turned upon me like a lioness, with a flashing of the 
eyes and a swift shake of her lovely head. 

' Peace, Slave ! ' she said ; ' who bade thee break in upon 
our counsels ? Mind thou thy stars, and leave matters of the 
world to the rulers of the world ! ' 

I sank back shamed, and, as I did so, once more I saw the 
smile of triumph on the face of Charmion, followed by what 
was, perhaps, the shadow of pity for my fall. 

' Now that yon brawling charlatan,' said Dellius, pointing 
at me with his jewelled finger, ' has been rebuked, grant me 
leave, Egypt, to thank thee from my heart for these gentle 
words ' 

1 We ask no thanks from thee, noble Dellius ; nor lies it 
in thy mouth to chide our servant,' broke in Cleopatra, frown- 
ing heavily ; * we will take thanks from the lips of Antony 
alone. Get thee to thy master, and say to him that before he 
can make ready a fitting welcome our keels shall follow in the 
track of thine. And now, farewell ! Thou shalt find somu 
small token of our bounty upon thy vessel.' 

Dellius bowed thrice and withdrew, while the Court stood 
waiting fche Queen's word. And I, too, waited, wondering if 
she would yet make good her promise, and name me royal 
Spouse there in the face of Egypt. But she said nothing. 
Only, still frowning heavily, she rose, and, followed by her 



CLEOPATRA 203 

guards, loft tho throne, and passed into tho Alabaster Hall. 
Then the Court broke up, and as the lords and councillors 
went by thoy looked on me with mockery. For though none 
knew all my Becret, nor how it stood between me and Cleopatra, 
\t 1 they were jealous of the favour shown me by the Queen, 
and rejoiced greatly at my fall. But I took no heed of their 
mocking as I stood dazed with misery and felt the world of 
! [ope slip from beneath my feet. 



204 



CLEOPATRA 



CHAPTER XIII. 

OF THE REPROACH OF HARMACHIS ; OF THE STRUGGLE OF 
HARMACHIS WITH THE GUARDS | OF THE BLOW OF 
BRENNUS ; AND OF THE SECRET SPEECH OF CLEOPATRA. 



ND at length, all being gone, I, too, 
turned to go, when a eunuch struck 
me on the shoulder and roughly 
bade me wait on the presence of the 
Queen. An hour past this fellow 
would have crawled to me on his knees ; 
but he had heard, and now he treated me 
— so brutish is the nature of such slaves 
— as the world treats the fallen, with 
scorn. For to come low after being great is to 
learn all shame. Unhappy, therefore, are the 
Great, for they may fall ! 
I turned upon the slave with so fierce a word that, cur- 
like, lie sprang behind me ; then I passed on to the Alabaster 
Hall, and was admitted by the guards. In the centre of the 
hall, near the fountain, sat Cleopatra, and with her were 
Oharmion and the Greek girl Iras, and Merira and other of 
her waiting-ladies. 'Go,' she said to these, 4 I would speak 
wiili my astrologer.' So they went, and left us face to face. 
4 Stand thou there,' she said, lifting her eyes Tor the firsi 
time. ' Come not nigh me, Barmachis : I trust thee not. 
Perchance thou hast found another dagger. Now, what hast 




CLEOPATRA 

tlmu to s;i\ ? r>\ what right didst thou dare to break in upon 
in \ talk with the Roman ? ' 

1 felt the blood rush through me like a storm ; bitterness 
and burning linger took hold of my heart. ' What hast 
thou to say, Cleopatra ? ' I answered boldly. ' Where is thy 
vow, sworn on the dead heart of Menkau-ra, the ever-living ? 
Where now thy challenge to this Roman Antony ? Where 
thy oath that thou wouldest call me " husband " in the face 
of Egypt ? ' And I choked and ceased. 

I Well doth it become Harmacliis, who never was forsworn, 
to speak to me of oaths ! ' she said in bitter mockery. ' And 
yet, thou most pure Priest of Isis ; and yet, thou most 
faithful friend, who never didst betray thy friends ; and yet, 
thou most steadfast, honourable, and upright man, who never 
bartered thy birthright, thy country, and thy cause for the 
price of a woman's passing love — by what token knowest thou 
that my word is void ? ' 

I I will not answer thy taunts, Cleopatra,' I said, holding 
back my heart as best I might, ' for I have earned them all, 
though not from thee. By this token, then, I know it. Thou 
goest to visit Antony ; thou goest, as said that Soman knave, 
" tricked in thy best attire," to feast with him whom thou 
shouldst give to vultures for their feast. Perhaps, for aught 
I know, thou art about to squander those treasures that thou 
hast filched from the body of Menkau-ra, those treasures stored 
against the need of Egypt, upon wanton revels which shall 
complete the shame of Egypt. By these things, then, I know 
that thou art forsworn, and I, who, loving thee, believed thee, 
tricked ; and by this, also, that thou who didst but yesternight 
swear to wed me, dost to-day cover me with taunts, and even 
before that Roman put me to an open shame ! ' 

1 To wed thee ? and I did swear to wed thee ? Well, and 
what is marriage ? Is it the union of the heart, that bond 



206 CLEOPATRA 

beautiful as gossamer and than gossamer more light, which 
binds soul to soul, as they float through the dreamy night of 
passion, a bond to be, perchance, melted in the dews of dawn ? 
Or is it the iron link of enforced, unchanging union whereby 
if sinks the one the other must be dragged beneath the sea of 
circumstance, there, like a punished slave, to perish of un- 
avoidable corruption ? l Marriage ! I to marry ! I to forget 
freedom and court the worst slavery of our sex, which, by the 
selfish will of man, the stronger, still binds us to a bed 
grown hateful, and enforces a service that love mayhap no 
longer hallows ! Of what use, then, to be a Queen, if thereby 
I may not escape the evil of the meanly born ? Mark thou, 
Harmachis : Woman being grown hath two ills to fear — Death 
and Marriage ; and of these twain is Marriage the more vile ; 
for in Death we may find rest, but in Marriage, should it fail 
us, we must find hell. Nay, being above the breath of common 
slander that enviously would blast those who of true virtue 
will not consent to stretch affection's links, I love, Har- 
machis ; but I marry not ! ' 

' And yesternight, Cleopatra, thou didst swear that thou 
wouldst wed me, and call me to thy side before the face of 
Egypt ! ' 

'And yesternight, Harmachis, the red ring round the moon 
marked the coming of the storm, and yet the day is fair ! But 
who knows that the tempest may not break to-morrow ? Who 
knows that I have not chosen the easier path to save Egypt 
from the Roman ? Who knows, Harmachis, that thou shalt 
not still call me wife ? ' 

Then I no longer could bear her falsehood, for I saw 
that she but played with me. And so I spoke that which 
was in my heart : 

1 Referring to the Koman custom of chaining a living felon to the 
body oi one already dead. Eu. 



CLEOPA TRA 207 

' Cleopatra ! ' I cried, ' thou didst Bwear to protect Egypt, 
and thou art about to betray Egypt to the Roman! Thou 
didst swear to use the treasures that I revealed to thee for 
the service of Egypt, and thou art about to use them to be her 
means of shame— to fashion them as fetters for her wrists! 
Thou didst Bwear to wed me, who loved thee, and for thee 
gave all, and thou dost mock me and reject me ! Therefore 
I say — with the voice of the dread Gods I say it ! — that on 
tliee shall fall the curse of Menkau-ra, whom thou hast robbed 
indeed ! Let me go hence and work out my fate ! Let me 
go, thou fair Shame ! thou living Lie ! whom I have loved 
to my doom, and who hast brought upon me the last curse of 
doom ! Let me hide myself and see thy face no more ! ' 

She rose in her wrath, and she was terrible to see. 

' Let thee go to stir up evil against me ! Nay, Harmachis, 
thou shalt not go to build new plots against my throne ! I say 
to thee that thou, too, shalt come to visit Antony in Cilicia, and 
there, perchance, I will let thee go ! ' And ere I could answer, 
she had struck upon the silver gong that hung near her. 

Before its rich echo had died away, Charmion and the 
waiting-women entered from one door, and from the other, 
a file of soldiers — four of them of the Queen's bodyguard, 
mighty men, with winged helmets and long fair hair. 

1 Seize that traitor ! ' cried Cleopatra, pointing to me. The 
captain of the guard — it was Brennus — saluted and came 
towards me with drawn sword. 

But I, being mad and desperate, and caring little if they 
slew me, flew straight at his throat, and dealt him such a 
heavy blow that the great man fell headlong, and his armour 
clashed upon the marble floor. As he fell I seized his 
sword and targe, and, meeting the next, who rushed on me 
with a shout, caught his blow upon the shield, and in answer 
smote with all my strength. The sword fell where the neck 



2oS C LEO FA TRA 

is set into the shoulder and, shearing through the joints of his 
harness, slew him, so that his knees were loosened and he 
sank down dead. And the third, as he came, I caught upon 
the point of my sword before he could strike, and it pierced 
him and he died. Then the last rushed on me with a cry of 
1 Taranis ! ' and I. too, rushed on him, for my blood was 
aflame. Now the women shrieked — only Cleopatra said 
nothing, but stood and watched the unequal fray. We i 
and I struck with all my strength, and it was a mighty blow, 
for the sword shore through the iron shield and shattered there, 
leaving me weaponless. With a shout of triumph the guard 
swung up his sword and smote down upon my head, but I 
caught the blow with my shield. Again he smote, and again I 
parried : but when he raised his sword a third time I saw this 
might not endure, so with a cry I hurled my buckler at his 
face. Glancing from his shield it struck him on the breast 
and staggered him. Then, before he could gain his balance. I 
rushed in beneath his guard and gripped him round the middle. 

For a full minute the tall man and I struggled furiously, and 
then, so great was my strength in those days, I lifted him 
like a toy and dashed him down upon the marble floor in such 
fashion that his bones were shattered so that he spoke no more. 
But I could not save myself and fell upon him. and as I fell 
the Captain Brennus, whom I had smitten to earth with my 
fist, having once more found his . came up behind me 

and smote me upon the head and shoulders with the sword of 
one of those whom I had slain. But I being on the ground, 
the blow did not fall with all i:- .t, also my thick hair 

and broidered cap broke its force ; and thus it caine to } 

b, though sorely wounded, the lif whole in d 

But I cuuld struggle no more. 

Then the cowardly eunuchs, who hud gathered at the 
sound of blows and stood huddled together like a herd of 




I dashed him down 



CLEOPA TRA 200 

cattle, seeing that 1 was spent, threw themselves upon me, 
and would have butchered me with their knives. But Brennus, 
now that I was down, would strike no more, but stood waiting. 
And the eunuchs had surely slain me, for Cleopatra watched 
like one who w T atches in a dream and made no sign. Already 
my head was dragged back, and their knife-points were at my 
throat, when Charmion, rushing forward, threw herself upon 
me and, calling them ' Dogs ! ' desperately thrust her body 
before them in such fashion that they could not smite. Now 
Brennus with an oath seized first one and then another and 
cast them from me. 

* Spare his life, Queen ! ' he cried in his barbarous Latin. 
1 By Jupiter, he is a brave man ! Myself felled like an ox in 
the shambles, and three of my boys finished by a man with- 
out armour and taken unawares ! I grudge them not to such 
a man ! A boon, Queen ! spare his life, and give him to me ! ' 

1 Ay, spare him ! spare him ! ' cried Charmion, white and 
trembling. 

Cleopatra drew near and looked upon the dead and him 
who lay dying as I had dashed him to the ground, and on me, 
her lover of two days gone, whose wounded head rested now T on 
Charmion's white robes. 

I met the Queen's glance. ' Spare not ! ' I gasped ; ' vce 
victis ! ' Then a flush gathered on her brow — methinks it 
was a flush of shame ! 

1 Dost after all love this man at heart, Charmion,' she said 
with a little laugh, ' that thou didst thrust thy tender body 
between him and the knives of these sexless hounds ? ' and 
she cast a look of scorn upon the eunuchs. 

' Nay ! ' the girl answered fiercely ; ' but I cannot stand 
by to see a brave man murdered by such as these.' 

1 Ay ! ' said Cleopatra, ' he is a brave man, and he fought 
gallantly ; I have never seen so fierce a fight even in the games 



210 CLEOPATRA 

at Rome ! Well, I spare his life, though it is weak of me — 
womanish weak. Take him to his own chamber and guard 
him there till he is healed or — dead.' 

Then my brain reeled, a great sickness seized upon me, 
and I sank into the nothingness of swoon. 

Dreams, dreams, dreams ! without end and ever-changing, 
as for years and years I seemed to toss upon a sea of agony. 
And through them a vision of a dark-eyed woman's tender 
face and the touch of a white hand soothing me to rest. 
Visions, too, of a royal countenance bending at times over my 
rocking bed — a countenance that I could not grasp, but 
whose beauty flowed through my fevered veins and was a part 
of me — visions of childhood and of the Temple towers of 
Abouthis, and of the white-haired Amenemhat, my father — 
ay, and an ever-present vision of that dread hall in Amenti, 
and of the small altar and the Spirits clad in flame ! There 
I seemed to wander everlastingly, calling on the Holy Mother, 
whose memory I could not grasp ; calling ever and in vain ! 
For no cloud descended upon the altar, only from time to time 
the great Voice pealed aloud : ' Strike out the name of 
Harmachis, child of Earth, from the living Book of Her who 
Was and Is and Shall Be ! Lost ! lost ! lost ! ' 

And then another voice would answer : 

' Not yet ! not yet ! Repentance is at hand ; strike not 
out the name of Harmachis, child of Earth, from the living 
Book of Her who Was and Is and Shall Be ! By suffering 
may sin be wiped away ! ' 

I woke to find myself in my own chamber in the tower of 
the palace. I was so weak that I scarce could lift my hand, 
and life seemed but to flutter in my breast as flutters a dying 
dove. I could not turn my head ; I could not stir ; yet in my 



CLEOPATRA 211 

heart there was a sense of real and of dark trouble done. 
The light from the lamp hurt my eyes : I shut them, and, as 
I shut them, heard the sweep of a woman's robes upon the 
stair, and a swift, light step that I knew well. It was that 
of Cleopatra ! 

She entered and drew near. I felt her come! Every 
pulse of my poor frame beat an answer to her footfall, and 
all my mighty love and hate rose from the darkness of my 
dea"th-like sleep, and rent me in their struggle ! She leaned 
over me ; her ambrosial breath played upon my face : I could 
hear the beating of her heart ! Lower she leaned, till at last 
her lips touched me softly on the brow\ 

• Poor Man ! ' I heard her murmur. ' Poor, w r eak, dying 
Man ! Fate hath been hard to thee ! Thou wert too good to be 
the sport of such a one as I — the pawn that I must move in my 
play of policy ! Ah, Harmachis ! thou shouldst have ruled the 
game ! Those plotting priests could give thee learning ; but 
they could not give thee knowledge of mankind, nor fence thee 
against the march of Nature's law. And thou didst love me 
with all thy heart — ah ! well I know it ! Manlike, thou didst 
love the eyes that, as a pirate's lights, beckoned thee to ship- 
wrecked ruin, and didst hang doting on the lips which lied thy 
heart aw T ay and called thee " slave " ! Well ; the game was 
fair, for thou wouldst have slain me : and yet I grieve. So 
thou dost die ? and this is my farewell to thee ! Never may 
we meet again on earth ; and, perchance, it is w T ell, for who 
know T s, when my hour of tenderness is past, how^ I might deal 
with thee, didst thou live ? Thou dost die, they say — those 
learned long-faced fools, w r ho, if they let thee die, shall pay 
the price. And where, then, shall we meet again when my 
last throw is thrown ? We shall be equal there, in the king- 
dom that Osiris rules. A little time, a few years — perhaps 
to-morrow- and we shall meet; then, knowing all I am, how 

p 2 



212 CLEOPATRA 

wilt thou greet me ? Nay, here, as there, still must thou 
worship me ! for injuries cannot touch the immortality of such 
a love as thine. Contempt alone, like acid, can eat away 
the love of noble hearts, and reveal the truth in its pitiful 
nakedness. Thou must still cling to me, Harmachis ; for, what- 
ever my sins, yet I am great and set above thy scorn. Would 
that I could have loved thee as thou lovest me ! Almost I 
did so when thou slewest those guards ; and yet — not quite. 

' What a fenced city is my heart, that none can take it, 
and, even when I throw the gates wide, no man may win its 
citadel ! Oh, to put away this loneliness and lose me in 
another's soul ! Oh, for a year, a month, an hour to quite 
forget policy, peoples, and my pomp of place, and be but a 
loving woman ! Harmachis, fare thee well ! Go join great 
Julius whom thy art called up from death before me, and 
take Egypt's greetings to him. Ah well ! I fooled thee, and I 
fooled Caesar — perchance before all is done Fate will find me, 
and myself I shall be fooled. Harmachis, fare thee well ! ' 

She turned to go, and as she turned I heard the sweep of 
another dress and the light fall of another woman's foot. 

J Ah ! it is thou, Charmion. Well, for all thy watching the 
man dies.' 

'Ay,' she answered, in a voice thick with grief. * Ay, 
Queen, so the physicians say. Forty hours has he lain in 
stupor so deep that at times his breath could barely lift this 
tiny feather's weight, and hardly could my ear, placed against 
his breast, take notice of the rising of his heart. I have 
watched him now for ten long days, watched him day and 
night, till my eyes stare wide with want of sleep, and for 
faintness I can scarce keep myself from falling. And this is 
the end of all my labour ! The coward blow of that accursed 
Brennua has done its work, and Harmachis dies ! ' 

' Love counts not its labour, Charmion, nor can it weigh 



CLEOPATRA 813 

its tenderness in the scale of purchase. That which it lias it 
gives, and craves for more to give and give, till the soul's 
infinity be drained. Dear to thy heart are these heavy nights 
of watching ; sweet to thy weary eyes is that sad sight of 
strength brought so low that it hangs upon thy weakness like 
a babe to its mother's breast ! For, Charmion, thou dost 
love this man who loves thee not, and now that he is helpless 
thou canst pour thy passion forth over the unanswering dark- 
ness of his soul, and cheat thyself with dreams of what yet 
might be.' 

4 1 love him not, as thou hast proof, Queen ! How can 
I love one who would have slain thee, who art as my heart's 
sister ? It is for pity that I nurse him.' 

She laughed a little as she answered, • Pity is love's own 
twin, Charmion. Wondrous wayward are the paths of woman's 
love, and thou hast shown thine strangely, that I know. But 
the more high the love, the deeper the gulf whereinto it can 
fall — ay, and thence soar again to heaven, once more to fall ! 
Poor woman ! thou art thy passion's plaything : now tender as 
the morning sky, and now, when jealousy grips thy heart, 
more cruel than the sea. Well, thus are we made. Soon, 
after all this troubling, nothing will be left thee but tears, 
remorse, and— memory.' 

And she went forth. 



214 



CLEOPATRA 






CHAPTER XIV. 

OF THE TENDER CARE OF CHARMION ; OF THE HEALING OF 
HARMACH1S ; OF THE SAILING OF THE FLEET OF CLEO- 
PATRA FOR CILICIA ; AND OF THE SPEECH OF BRENNUS 
TO HARMACHIS. 



LE OP ATE A went, and for a while 
I lay silent, gathering up my 
strength to speak. But Charmion 
came and stood over me, and I 
felt a great tear fall from her dark 
eyes upon my face, as the first 
heavy drop of rain falls from a 
thunder cloud. 

'Thou goest,' she whispered; 
'thou goest fast whither I may not 
follow ! Harmachis, how gladly 
would I give my life for thine ! ' 
Then at length I opened my eyes, and spoke as best I 
could : 

'Restrain thy grief, dear friend,' I said, *I live yet; and, 
in truth, I feel as though new life gathered in my breast ! ' 

She gave a little cry of joy, and I never saw aught more 
beautiful than the change that came upon her weeping face ! 
It was as when the first lights of the day run up the pallor 
of that sad sky which veils the night from dawn. All rosy 




CLEOPATRA 215 

w her lovely countenance; her dim eyes shone out like 
stars; and a smile of wonderment, more sweet than the 
sudden smile of the sea as ics ripples wake to brightness 
beneath the kiss of the risen moon, broke through her rain of 

i'S. 

1 Thou livest ! ' she cried, throwing herself upon her knees 
beside my couch. ' Thou livest — and I thought thee gone ! 
Thou art come back to me ! Oh ! what say I ? How foolish 
is a woman's heart ! 'Tis this long watching ! Nay ; sleep 
and rest thee, Harmachis ! — why dost thou talk ? Not one 
more word, I command thee straitly ! Where is the draught 
left by that long-bearded fool? Nay thou shalt have 
no draught ! There, sleep, Harmachis ; sleep ! ' and she 
crouched down at my side and laid her cool hand upon my 
brow, murmuring, ' Sleep ! sleep ! ' 

And when I woke there she was still, but the lights of 
dawn were peeping through the casement. There she knelt, 
one hand upon my forehead, and her head, in all its dis- 
array of curls, resting upon her outstretched arm. 

' Charmion,' I whispered, ' have I slept ? ' 

Instantly she was wide awake, and, gazing on me with 
tender eyes, ' Yea, thou hast slept, Harmachis.' 

1 How long, then, have I slept ? ' 

' Nine hours.' 

1 And thou hast held thy place there, at my side, for nine 
long hours ? ' 

1 Yes, it is nothing ; I also have slept — I feared to waken 
thee if I stirred.' 

1 Go, rest,' I said ; ' it shames me to think of this thing. 
Go rest thee, Charmion ! ' 

'Vex not thyself,' she answered; 'see, I will bid a slave 
watch thee, and to wake me if thou needest aught ; I sleep 
there, in the outer chamber. Peace — I go ! ' and she strove 



216 CLEOPATRA 

to rise, but, so cramped was she, fell straightway on the 
floor. 

I can scarcely tell the sense of shame that filled me when 
I saw her fall. Alas ! I could not stir to help her. 

'It is naught,' she said; 'move not, I did but catch my 
foot. There ! ' and she rose, again to fall — ' a pest upon my 
awkwardness ! Why — I must be sleeping. 'Tis well now. 
I'll send the slave ; ' and she staggered thence like one over- 
come with wine. 

And after that, I slept once more, for I was very weak. 
When I woke it was afternoon, and I craved for food, which 
Charmion brought me. 

I ate. ' Then I die not,' I said. 

' Nay,' she answered, with a toss of her head, ' thou wilt 
live. In truth, I did waste my pity on thee.' 

'And thy pity saved my life,' I said wearily, for now I 
remembered. 

' It is nothing,' she answered carelessly. ' After all, thou 
art my cousin ; also, I love nursing — it is a woman's trade. 
Like enough I had done as much for any slave. Now, too, 
that the danger is past, I leave thee.' 

' Thou hadst done better to let me die, Charmion,' I said 
after a while, ' for life to me can now be only one long shame. 
Tell me, then, when sails Cleopatra for Cilicia ? ' 

' She sails in twenty days, and with such pomp and glory 
as Egypt has never seen. Of a truth, I cannot guess where 
she has found the means to gather in this store of splendour, 
as a husbandman gathers his golden harvest.' 

But I, knowing whence the wealth came, groaned in 
bitterness of spirit, and made no answer. 

' Goest thou also, Charmion?' I asked presently. 
'Ay, I and all the Court. Thou, boo— thou goest.' 
' i go? Nay, why is this '.' ' 



CLEOPATRA 217 

Because bhou art Cleopatra's slave, and must march in 
gilded chains behind ber chariot; because she fears to leav< 
thee here in Khem; because it is her will, and there is 

an end.' 

• ( Sharmion, can I not escape ? ' 

'Escape, thou poor sick man? Nay, how canst thou 
iv? Even now thou art most strictly guarded. And if 
thou didst escape, whither wouldst thou fly ? There's not an 
honest man in Egypt but would spit on thee in scorn ! ' 

Once more I groaned in spirit, and, being so very weak, I 
felt the tears roll adown my cheek. 

1 Weep not ! ' she said hastily, and turning her face aside. 
4 Be a man, and brave these troubles out. Thou hast sown, 
now must thou reap ; but after harvest the waters rise and 
wash away the rotting roots, and then seed-time comes again. 
Perchance, yonder in Cilicia, a way may be found, when once 
more thou art strong, by which thou mayst fly — if in truth 
thou canst bear thy life apart from Cleopatra's smile ; then in 
some far land must thou dwell till these things are forgotten. 
And now my task is done, so fare thee well ! At times I will 
come to visit thee and see that thou needest nothing.' 

So she went, and I was nursed thenceforward, and that 
skilfully, by the physician and two women- slaves ; and as my 
wound healed so my strength came back to me, slowly at first, 
then most swiftly. In four days from that time I left my 
couch, and in three more I could walk an hour in the palace 
gardens ; another week and I could read and think, though I 
went no more to Court. And at length one afternoon Charmion 
came and bade me make ready, for the fleet would sail in 
two days, first for the coast of Syria, and thence to the gulf of 
Issus and Cilicia. 

Thereon, with all formality, and in writing, I craved leave 
of Cleopatra that I might be left, urging that my health was 



218 CLEOPATRA 

so feeble that I could not travel. But a message was sent to 
me in answer that I must come. 

And so, on the appointed day, I was carried in a litter 
down to the boat, and together with that very soldier who 
had cut me down, the Captain Brennus, and others of his 
troop (who, indeed, were sent to guard me), we rowed aboard 
a vessel where she lay at anchor with the rest of the great 
fleet. For Cleopatra was voyaging as though to war in much 
pomp, and escorted by a fleet of ships, among which her 
galley, built like a house and lined throughout with cedar 
and silken hangings, was the most beautiful and costly that 
the world has ever seen. But I went not on this vessel, and 
therefore it chanced that I did not see Cleopatra or Charmion 
till we landed at the mouth of the river Cydnus. 

The signal being made, the fleet set sail ; and, the wind 
being fair, we came to Joppa on the evening of the second 
day. Thence we sailed slowly with contrary winds up the 
coast of Syria, making Caesarea, and Ptolemais, and Tyrus, 
and Berytus, and past Lebanon's white brow crowned with 
his crest of cedars, on to Heraclea and across the gulf of Issus 
to the mouth of Cydnus. And ever as we journeyed, the 
strong breath of the sea brought back my health, till at 
length, save for a line of white upon my head where the 
sword had fallen, I was almost as I had been. And one night, 
as we drew near Cydnus, while Brennus and I sat alone 
together on the deck, his eye fell upon the white mark his 
sword had made, and he swore a great oath by his heathen 
Gods. 'An thou hadst died, lad,' he said, ' methinks I could 
never again have held up my head ! Ah ! that was a coward 
stroke, and I am shamed to think that it was I who struck it, 
and thou on the ground and with 1.1 iy back to me ! Knowest 
thou that when thou didst lie between Life and death, 1 came 
every day to ask tidings of thee ? and I swore by Taranis 



CLEOPATRA 219 

thai if thou dulsi dif I'd turn my back upon that soft palace 
life and then away for the bonny North.' 

4 Nay, trouble not, Brennus,' I answered ; * it was thy 
dut; 

' Mayhap ! but there are duties that a brave man should 
not do— nay, not at the bidding of any Queen who ever ruled 
in Egypt ! Thy blow had dazed me or I had not struck. 
What is it, lad ?— art in trouble with this Queen of ours ? 
Why art thou dragged a prisoner upon this pleasure party ? 
Knowest thou that we are strictly charged that if thou dost 
escape our lives shall pay the price ? ' 

' Ay, in sore trouble, friend,' I answered ; ' ask me no 
more.' 

1 Then, being of the age thou art, there's a woman in it— 
that I swear— and, perchance, though I am rough and foolish, 
I might make a guess. Look thou, lad, what say est thou ? I 
am w r eary of the service of Cleopatra and this hot land of 
deserts and of luxury, that sap a man's strength and drain his 
pocket ; and so are others whom I know of. What sayest thou : 
let's take one of these unwieldy vessels and away to the North? 
Ill lead thee to a better land than Egypt — a land of lake and 
mountain, and great forests of sweet-scented pine ; ay, and 
find thee a girl fit to mate with — my ow r n niece — a girl 
strong and tall, with w r ide blue eyes and long fair hair, and 
arms that could crack thy ribs w T ere she of a mind to hug thee ! 
Come, what sayest thou ? Put aw T ay the past, and away for 
the bonny North, and be a son to me.' 

For a moment I thought, and then sadly shook my head ; 
for though I was sorely tempted to be gone, I knew that my 
fate lay in Egypt, and I might not fly my fate. 

1 It may not be, Brennus,' I answered. ' Fain would I that 
it might be, but I am bound by a chain of destiny which I 
cannot break, and in the land of Egypt I must live and die.' 



220 C LEO PA TRA 

' As thou wilt, lad,' said the old warrior. ' I should have 
dearly loved to marry thee among my people, and make a 
son of thee. At the least, remember that while I am here 
thou hast Brennus for a friend. And one thing more ; beware 
of that beauteous Queen of thine, for, by Taranis, perhaps 
an hour may come when she will hold that thou knowest too 

much, and then ' and he drew his hand across his throat. 

' And now good-night ; a cup of wine, then to sleep, for to- 
morrow the foolery ' 

[Here several lengths of the second roll of papyrus are so 
broken as to be undecipherable. They seem to have been 
descriptive of Cleopatra's voyage up the Cydnus to the city of 
Tarsus.] 

And — [the writing continues] — to those who could take 
joy in such things, the sight must, indeed, have been a 
gallant one. For the stern of our galley was covered with 
sheets of beaten gold, the sails were of the scarlet of Tyre, 
and the oars of silver touched the water to a measure of music. 
And there, in the centre of the vessel, beneath an awning 
ablaze with gold embroidery, lay Cleopatra, attired as the 
Koman Venus (and surely Venus was not more fair!), in 
thin robes of whitest silk, bound in beneath her breast with 
a golden girdle delicately graven over with scenes of love. 
All about her were little rosy boys, chosen for their beauty, 
and clad in naught save downy wings strapped upon their 
shoulders, and on their backs Cupid's bow and quiver, who 
fanned her with fans of plumes. Upon the vessel's decks, 
handling the cordage, that was of silken web, and softly 
singing to the sound of harps and the beat of oars, were 
no rough sailors, but women lovely to behold, some robed 

Graces and some as Nereids— that is, scarce robed at ;ill 
except in their scented hair. And behind the couch, with drawn 



CLEOPATRA 221 

sword, stood Brennus, in splendid armour and winged helm of 
gold; and by him others 1 among them— in garments richly 
worked, and knew that 1 was indeed a slave 1 On the high 

poop also burned ('(Misers filled with costliest incense, of which 
the fragrant steam hung in little clouds about our wake. 

Tims, as in a dream of luxury, followed by many ships, 
we glided on toward the wooded slopes of Taurus, at whose 
foot lay that ancient city Tarshish. And ever as we came 
tht^ people gathered on the banks and ran before us, shouting : 
' Venus is risen from the sea ! Venus hath come to visit 
Bacchus ! ' We drew near to the city, and all its people — 
everyone who could walk or be carried -crowded down in 
thousands to the docks, and with them came the whole army 
of Antony, so that at length the Triumvir was left alone upon 
the judgment seat. 

Dellius, the false-tongued, came also, fawning and bowing, 
and in the name of Antony gave the ' Queen of Beauty ' 
greeting, bidding her to a feast that Antony had made ready. 
But she made high answer, and said, ' Forsooth, it is Antony 
who should wait on us ; not we on Antony. Bid the noble 
Antony to our poor table this night — else we dine alone.' 

Dellius went, bowing to the ground ; the feast was made 
ready ; and then at last I set eyes on Antony. He came clad 
in purple robes, a great man and beautiful to see, set in the 
stout prime of life, with bright eyes of blue, and curling hair, 
and features cut sharply as a Grecian gem. For he w T as great 
of form and royal of mien, and with an open countenance 
on which his thoughts were so clearly written that all might 
read them ; only the weakness of the mouth belied the 
power of the brow. He came attended by his generals, and 
when he reached the couch where Cleopatra lay he stood 
astonished, gazing on her with wide-opened eyes. She, too, 
gazed on him earnestly ; I saw the red blood run up beneath 



222 CLEOPATRA 

her skin, and a great pang of jealousy seized upon my heart. 
And Charmion, who saw all beneath her downcast eyes, saw 
this also and smiled. But Cleopatra spoke no word, only she 
stretched out her white hand for him to kiss ; and he, saying 
no word, took her hand and kissed it. 

' Behold, noble Antony ! ' she said at last in her voice of 
music, ' thou hast called me, and I am come.' 

' Venus has come,' he answered in his deep notes, and 
still holding his eyes fast fixed upon her face. ' I called a 
woman — a Goddess hath risen from the deep ! ' 

' To find a God to greet her on the land,' she laughed 
with ready wit. ' Well, a truce to compliments, for being 
on the earth even Venus is ahungered. Noble Antony, thy 
hand.' 

The trumpets blared, and through the bowing crowd 
Cleopatra, followed by her train, passed hand in hand with 
Antony to the feast. 

[Here there is another break in the papyrus.] 



CLEOPATRA 



21' 



CHAPTER XV. 

OF THE FEAST OF CLEOPATRA ; OF THE MELTING OF 
THE pearl; OF THE SAYING OF HARMACHIS ; AND 
OF CLEOPATRA'S VOW OF LOVE. 



the third night the feast was once 
more prepared in the hall of the 
great house that had been set aside 
to the use of Cleopatra, and on this 
night its splendour was greater even 
than on the nights before. For 
the twelve couches that were set 
about the table were embossed with 
gold, and those of Cleopatra and An- 
tony were of gold set with jewels. The 
dishes also were all of gold set with 
jewels, the walls were hung with purple 
cloths sewn with gold, and on the floor, covered with a net 
of gold, fresh roses were strewn ankle-deep, that as the slaves 
trod them sent up their perfume. Once again I was bidden 
to stand, with Charmion and Iras and Merira, behind the 
couch of Cleopatra, and, like a slave, from time to time call 
out the hours as they flew. And there being no help, I went 
wild at heart; but this I swore — it should be for the last 
time, since I could not bear that shame. For though I 
would not yet believe what Charmion told me — that Cleo- 




224 CLEOPA TRA 

patra was about to become the Love of Antony — yet I could 
no more endure this ignominy and torture. For from Cleo- 
patra now I had no words save such as a Queen speaks to 
her slave, and methinks it gave her dark heart pleasure to 
torment me. 

Thus it came to pass that I, the Pharaoh, crowned of Khem, 
stood among eunuchs and waiting-women behind the couch of 
Egypt's Queen while the feast went merrily and the wine-cup 
passed. And ever Antony sat, his eyes fixed upon the face of 
Cleopatra, who from time to time let her deep glance lose itself 
in his, and then for a little while their talk died away. For 
he told her tales of war and of deeds that he had done — ay, 
and love -jests such as are not meet for the ears of women. But; 
she took offence at nothing ; rather, falling into his humour, 
she would cap his stories with others of a finer wit, but not 
less shameless. 

At length, the rich meal being finished, Antony gazed at 
the splendour around him. 

1 Tell me, then, most lovely Egypt,' he said ; ' are the 
sands of Nile compact of gold, that thou canst, night by night, 
thus squander the ransom of a King upon a single feast ? 
Whence comes this untold wealth ? ' 

I bethought me of the tomb of the Divine Menkau-ra, whose 
holy treasure was thus wickedly wasted, and looked up so that 
Cleopatra's eye caught mine ; but, reading my thoughts, she 
frowned heavily. 

' Why, noble Antony,' she said, ' surely it is nothing ! In 
Egypt we have our secrets, and know whence to conjure riches 
at our need. Say, what is the value of this golden service, 
and of the meats and drinks that have been set before us ? ' 

Be cast his eyes about, and hazarded a guess. 

' Maybe a thousand sestertia.' ' 

1 About eight thousand pounds of English money. — Ed. 



CLEOPATRA 225 

'Thouhasl understated it by half, noble Antony! But sue! 1 
as it is I give it thee and those with thee as a free token of my 
friendship. And more will I show thee now : I myself will cat 
and drink ten thousand sestertia at a draught.' 

' That cannot be, fair Egypt ! ' 

She Laughed, and bade a slave bring her white vinegar in a 
glass. When ii was brought she set it before her and laughed 
again, while Antony, rising from his couch, drew near and set 
himself at her side, and all the company leant forward to see 
what she would do. And this she did. She took from her ear 
one of those great pearls which last of all had been drawn from 
the body of the Divine Pharaoh ; and before any could guess 
her purpose she let it fall into the vinegar. Then came silence, 
the silence of wonder, and slowly the peerless pearl melted in 
the strong acid. When it was melted she lifted the glass and 
shook it, then drank the vinegar, to the last drop. 

' More vinegar, slave ! ' she cried ; ' my meal is but half 
finished ! ' and she drew forth the second pearl. 

1 By Bacchus, no ! that shalt thou not ! ' cried Antony, 
snatching at her hands ; ' I have seen enough ; ' and at that 
moment, moved to it by I know not what, I called aloud : 

1 The hour falls, Queen ! — the hour of the coming of the 
curse of Menkau-ra ! ' 

An ashy whiteness grew upon Cleopatra's face, and she 
turned upon me furiously, while all the company gazed worn 
dering, not knowing what the words might mean. 

' Thou ill-omened slave ! ' she cried. ' Speak thus once 
more and thou shalt be scourged with rods ! — ay, scourged 
like an evildoer — that I promise thee, Harmachis ! ' 

' What means the knave of an astrologer ? ' asked Antony. 
4 Speak, sirrah ! and make clear thy meaning, for those who 
deal in curses must warrant their wares.' 

'lama servant of the Gods, noble Antony. That which 

Q 



226 CLROPA TRA 

the Gods put in my mind that must I say ; nor can I read their 
meaning,' I answered humbly. 

1 Oh, oh ! thou servest the Gods, dost thou, thou many-col- 
oured mystery'?' This he said having reference to my splen- 
did robes. ' Well, I serve the Goddesses, which is a softer 
cult. And there's this between us : that though what they 
put in my mind I say, neither can I read their meaning,' 
and he glanced at Cleopatra as one who questions. 

1 Let the knave be,' she said impatiently; ' to-morrow we'll 
be rid of him. Sirrah, begone! ' 

I bowed and went ; and, as I went, I heard Antony say : 
' Well, he may be a knave — for that all men are — but this for 
thy astrologer : he hath a royal air and the eye of a King — 
ay, and wit in it.' 

Without the door I paused, not knowing what to do, for I 
was bewildered with misery. And, as I stood, some one touched 
me on the hand. I glanced up — it was Charmion, who in the 
confusion of the rising of the guests, had slipped away and 
followed me. 

For in trouble Charmion was ever at my side. 

' Follow me,' she whispered ; ' thou art in danger.' 

I turned and followed her. Why should I not ? 

' Whither go we ? ' I asked at length. 

1 To my chamber,' she said. ' Fear not ; we ladies of 
Cleopatra's Court have small good fame to lose : if anyone by 
chance should see us, they'll think that it is a love- tryst, and 
such are all the fashion.' 

I followed, and, presently, skirting the crowd, we came 
unseen to a little side entrance that led to a stair, up which 
we passed. The stair ended in a passage ; we turned down it 
till we found a door on the left hand. Charmion entered 
silently, and I followed her into a dark chamber. Being in, 
she barred the door and, kindling tinder to a flame, lit a 



CLEOPATRA 227 

hanging lump. As the light grew strong I gazed around. 
The chamber was not Large, and bad but one casement, closely 
shuttered. For the rest, it was simply furnished, having white 

walls, some chests for garments, an ancient chair, what I 
took to he a tiring table, on which were combs, perfumes, and 
all the frippery that pertains to woman, and a white bed with 
a broidered coverlid, over which was hung a gnat-gauze. 

• Be seated, Harmachis,' she said, pointing to the chair. 
I took the chair, and Charmion, throwing back the gnat-gauze, 
sat herself upon the bed before me. 

1 Knowest thou what I heard Cleopatra say as thou didst 
leave the banqueting-hall ? ' she asked presently. 

' Nay, I know not.' 

' She gazed after thee, and, as I went over to her to do 
some service, she murmured to herself: "By Serapis, I will 
make an end ! I will wait no longer : to-morrow he shall be 
strangled ! " ' 

4 So ! ' I said, « it may be ; though, after all that has 
been, I can scarce believe that she will murder me.' 

■ Why canst thou not believe it, thou most foolish of 
men ? Dost forget how nigh thou wast to death there in the 
Alabaster Hall ? Who saved thee then from the knives of the 
eunuchs ? Was it Cleopatra ? Or w T as it I and Brennus ? 
Stay, I w T ill tell thee. Thou canst not yet believe it, because, 
in thy folly, thou dost not think it possible that the woman 
who has but lately been as a wife to thee can now T , in so short 
a time, doom thee to be basely done to death. Nay, answer 
not — I know all ; and I tell thee this : thou hast not measured 
the depth of Cleopatra's perfidy, nor canst thou dream the 
blackness of her wicked heart. She had surely slain thee in 
Alexandria had she not feared that thy slaughter being noised 
abroad might bring trouble on her. Therefore has she brought 
thee here to kill thee secretly. For what more canst thou 

q 2 



228 CLEOPATRA 

give her ? She has thy heart's love, and is wearied of thy 
strength and beauty. She has robbed thee of thy royal birth- 
right and brought thee, a King, to stand amidst the waiting- 
women behind her at her feasts ; she has won from thee the 
great secret of the holy treasure ! ' 

1 Ah, thou knowest that ?' 

' Yes, I know all ; and to-night thou seest how the wealth 
stored against the need of Khem is being squandered to 
fill up the wanton luxury of Khem's Macedonian Queen ! 
Thou seest how she has kept her oath to wed thee honourably. 
Harmachis— at length thine eyes are open to the truth ! ' 

1 Ay, I see too well ; and yet she swore she loved me, and 
I, poor fool, I believed her ! ' 

* She swore she loved thee ! ' answered Charmion, lifting 
her dark eyes : ' now I will show thee how she loves thee. 
Knowest thou what was this house ? It was a priest's college ; 
and, as thou wottest, Harmachis, priests have their ways. 
'I 1 ! lis little room aforetime was th© room of the Head 
Priest, and the chamber that is beyond and below was the 
gathering-place of the other priests. The old slave who 
keeps the house told me all this, and also she revealed what I 
shall show thee. Now, Harmachis, be silent as the dead, and 
follow me ! " 

She blew out the lamp, and by the little light that crept 
through the shuttered casement led me by the hand to the far 
corner of the room. Here she pressed upon the wall, and a 
door opened in its thickness. We entered, and she closed the 
Bpring. Now we were in a little chamber, some five cubits in 
length by four in breadth ; for a faint light struggled into the 
closet, and also the sound of voices, I Knew not whence. 
Loosing my hand, she crept to the end of the place, and 
looked steadfastly at the wall ; then crept back, and, whisper- 
ing ' Silence !' led me forward with her. Then 1 saw that 



CLEOPATRA 229 

there wire eyeholi - in the wall, which pierced it, and were 

hidden on the farther side by carved work in stone. I looked 
through the hole that was in front of me, and I saw this : six 
cubits below was the level of the rloor of another chamber, lit 
with fragrant lamps, and most richly furnished. It was the 
sleeping-place of Cleopatra, and there, within ten cubits of 
where we stood, sat Cleopatra on a gilded couch ; and by her 
side sat Antony. 

1 Tell me,' Cleopatra murmured — for this place was so 
built that every word spoken in the room below came to 
the ears of the listener above — ' tell me, noble Antony, wast 
pleased with my poor festival ? ' 

4 Ay,' he answered in his deep soldier's voice, ' ay, Egypt, 
I have made feasts, and been bidden to feasts, but never saw 
I aught like thine ; and I tell thee this, though I am rough of 
tongue and unskilled in pretty sayings such as women love, 
thou wast the richest sight of all that splendid board. The 
red wine was not so red as thy beauteous cheek, the roses smelt 
not so sweet as the odour of thy hair, and no sapphire there 
with its changing light was so lovely as thy eyes of ocean 
blue.' 

' What ! Praise from Antony ! Sweet words from the 
lips of him whose writings are so harsh ! Why, it is praise 
indeed ! ' 

' Ay,' he went on, ' it was a royal feast, though I grieve 
that thou didst waste that great pearl ; and what meant that 
hour-calling astrologer of thine, with his ill-omened talk of 
the curse of Menkau-ra ? ' 

A shadow fled across her glow r ing face. ' I know not ; he 
was lately wounded in a brawl, and methinks the blow has 
crazed him.' 

1 He seemed not crazed, and there was that about his 
voice which rings in my ears like some oracle of fate. So 



230 CLEOPA TRA 

wildly, too, he looked upon thee, Egypt, with those piercing 
eyes of his, like one who loved and yet hated through the 
love.' 

' He is a strange man, I tell thee, noble Antony, and a 
learned. Myself, at times, I almost fear him, for he is deeply 
versed in the ancient arts of Egypt. Knowest thou that the 
man is of royal blood, and once he plotted to slay me ? But I 
won him over, and slew him not, for he had the key to secrets 
that I fain would learn ; and, indeed, I loved his wisdom, and 
to listen to his deep talk of all hidden things.' 

' By Bacchus, I grow jealous of the knave ! And now, 
Egypt?' 

' And now I have sucked his knowledge dry, and have no 
more cause to fear him. Didst thou not see that I have made 
him stand these three nights a slave amid my slaves, and 
call aloud the hours as they fled in festival. No captive King 
marching in thy Roman triumphs can have suffered pangs so 
keen as that proud Egyptian Prince when he stood shamed 
behind my couch.' 

Here Charmion laid her hand on mine and pressed it, as 
though in tenderness. 

' Well, he shall trouble us no more with his words of evil 
omen,' Cleopatra went on slowly ; ' to-morrow morn he dies — 
dies swiftly and in secret, leaving no trace of what his fate 
has been. On this is my mind fixed ; of a truth, noble 
Antony, it is fixed. Even as I speak the fear of this man 
grows and gathers in my breast. Half am I minded to give 
the word even now, for I breathe not freely till he be dead,' 
and she made as though to rise. 

'Let it be till morning,' he said, catching her by the 
hand ; ' the soldiers drink, and the deed will be ill done. 'Tis 
pity, too. I love not to think of men slaughtered in their 
leep.' 



CLEOPATRA 231 

* In the morning, perchance, the hawk may have flown,' 
Bhe answered, pondering. ' He hath keen ears, this Har- 
machis, and can Bummon things to aid him that are not of 
the earth. Perchance, even now he hears me in the spirit ; 
for, of a truth, I seem to feel his presence breathing round me. 
I could till thee — but no, let him be ! Noble Antony, be my 
tiring-woman and loose me this crown of gold, it chafes my 
brow, he gentle, hurt me not — so.' 

He lifted the ura?us crown from her brows, and she shook 
loose her heavy weight of hair that fell about her like a 
garment. 

1 Take back thy crown, royal Egypt,' he said, speaking 
low, ■ take it from my hand ; I will not rob thee of it, but 
rather set it more firmly on that beauteous brow.' 

1 What means my Lord ? ' she asked, smiling and looking 
into his eyes. 

• What mean I ? Why then, this : thou earnest hither at 
my bidding to make answer of the charges laid against thee 
as to matters politic. And knowest thou, Egypt, that hadst 
thou been other than thou art thou hadst not gone back to 
queen it on the Nile ; for of this I am sure, the charges against 
thee are true in fact. But, being what thou art — and look 
thou ! never did Nature serve a woman better ! — I forgive thee 
all. For the sake of thy grace and beauty I forgive thee 
that which had not been forgiven to virtue, or to patriotism, or 
to the dignity of age ! See now how good a thing is woman's 
wit and loveliness, that can make kings forget their duty and 
cozen even blindfolded Justice to peep ere she lifts her sword ! 
Take back thy crown, Egypt ! It is now my care that, though 
it be heavy, it shall not chafe thee.' 

'These are royal words, most noble Antony,' she made 
answer ; ' gracious and generous words, such as befit the 
Conqueror of the world ! And touching my misdeeds in the 



232 CLEOPA TRA 

past — if misdeeds there have been — I say this, and this alone 
— then I knew not Antony. For, knowing Antony, who could 
sin against him ? What woman could lift a sword against one 
who must be to all women as a God — one who, seen and 
known, draws after him the whole allegiance of the heart, as 
the sun draws flowers ? And what more can I say and not 
cross the bounds of woman's modesty ? Why, only this — set 
that crown upon my brow, great Antony, and I will take it as 
a gift from thee, by the giving made doubly dear, and to thy 
uses I will guard it. 

1 There, now I am thy vassal Queen, and through me all 
old Egypt that I rule does homage to Antony the Triumvir, 
who shall be Antony the Emperor of Kome and Khems 
Imperial Lord ! ' 

And, having set the crown upon her locks, he stood 
gazing on her, grown passionate in the warm breath of her 
living beauty, till at length he caught her by both hands and 
drawing her to him kissed her thrice, saying : 

1 Cleopatra, I love thee, Sweet — I love thee as I never 
loved before.' She drew back from his embrace, smiling 
softly ; and as she did so the golden circlet of the sacred 
snakes fell, being but loosely set upon her brow, and rolled 
away into the darkness beyond the ring of light. 

I saw the omen, and even in the bitter anguish of my heart 
knew its evil import. But these twain took no note. 

1 Thou lovest me ? she said, most sweetly ; ' how know I 
that thou lovest me? Perchance it is Fulvia whom thou 
lovest — Fulvia, thy wedded wife ? ' 

* Nay, it is not Fulvia, 'tis thou, Cleopatra,, and thou alone. 
Many women have looked favourably upon me from my boy- 
hood up, but to never a one have 1 known such desire as to 
fchee, O thou Wonder of the World, like unto whom no 
woman ever was! Canst thou love me Cleopatra, and to me 



CLEOPATRA 233 

be true, not for in> place and power, not for that which 1 can 
give or oan withhold, not for the stem music of my legions' 
tramp, or for the iighl that Hows from my bright Star of 
Fortune ; hut for myself, for the sake of Antony, the rough 
captain, grown old in camps? Ay, for the sake of Antony 
the reveller, the frail, the unfixed of purpose, but who yet 
never did desert a friend, or rob a poor man, or take an 

my unawares ? Say, canst thou love me, Egypt ? Oh ! if 
thou wilt, why, I am more happy than though I sat to-night 
in the Capitol at Borne crowned absolute Monarch of the 
World! ' 

And, ever as he spoke, she gazed on him with wonderful 

3, and in them shone a light of truth and honesty such as 
was strange to me. 

1 Thou speakest plainly,' she said, ' and thy words are 
sweet to mine ears — they would be sweet, even were things 
otherwise than they are, for what woman would not love to 
see the world's master at her feet ? But things being as they 
are, why, Antony, what can be so sweet as thy sw T eet words ? 
The harbour of his rest to the storm-tossed mariner — surely 
that is sweet ! The dream of Heaven's bliss which cheers the 
poor ascetic priest on his path of sacrifice — surely that is 
sweet ! The sight of Dawn, the rosy-fingered, coming in his 
promise to glad the watching Earth -surely that is sweet ! 
But, ah ! not one of these, nor all dear delightful things that 
are, can match the honey-sweetness of thy words to me, 
Antony ! For thou knowest not— never canst thou know — 
how drear my life hath been, and empty, since thus it is 
ordained that in love only can woman lose her solitude ! And 
I have never loved — never might I love — till this happy night ! 
Ay, take me in thy arms, and let us swear a great vow of 
love — an oath that may not be broken while life is in us ! 
Behold ! Antony ! now and for ever I do vow most strict 



234 



CLEOPA TRA 



fidelity unto thee ! Now and for ever I am thine, and thine 
alone ! ' 

Then Charmion took me by the hand and drew me 
thence. 

1 Hast seen enough ? ' she asked, when we were once 
more within the chamber and the lamp was lit. 

1 Yea,' I answered ; ' my eyes are opened.' 



CLEOPATRA 



235 



CHAPTER XVI. 



OF THE PLAN OF CHARMION | OF THE CONFESSION OF 
( HARMION ; AND OF THE ANSWER OF HARMACHIS. 

some while I sat with bowed head, 
and the last bitterness of shame 
sank into my soul. This, then, 
was the end. For this I had 
betrayed my oaths ; for this I had 
told the secret of the pyramid ; for 
this I had lost my Crown, my 
Honour, and, perchance, my hope 
of Heaven ! Could there be another 
man in the wide world so steeped 
in sorrow as I was that night ? 
Surely not one ! Where should I 
turn ? What could I do ? And 
even through the tempest of my torn heart the bitter voice 
of jealousy called aloud. For I loved this woman, to whom 

I had given all ; and she at this moment — she was Ah ! 

I could not bear to think of it ; and in my utter agony, my 
heart burst in a river of tears such as are terrible to weep ! 

Then Charmion drew near me, and I saw that she, too, 
was weeping. 

1 Weep not, Harmachis ! ' she sobbed, kneeling at my 
side. • I cannot endure to see thee weep. Oh ! why wouldst 




236 C LEO PA TRA 

thou not be warned ? Then hadst thou been great and happy, 
and not as now. Listen, Harmachis ! Thou didst hear what 
that false and tigerish woman said — to-morrow she hands 
thee over to the murderers ! ' 

' It is well,' I gasped. 

1 Nay : it is not well. Harmachis, give her not this last 
triumph over thee. Thou hast lost all save life : but while 
life remains, hope remains also, and with hope the chance of 
vengeance.' 

' Ah ! ' I said, starting from my seat. ' I had not thought 
of that. Ay — the chance of vengeance ! It would be sweet 
to be avenged ! ' 

' It would be sweet, Harmachis, and yet this — Vengeance 
is an arrow that in falling oft pierces him who shot it. My- 
self — I know it,' and she sighed. ' But a truce to talk and 
grief. There will be time for us twain to grieve, if not to talk, 
in all the heavy coming years. Thou must fly — before the 
coming of the light must thou fly. Here is a plan. To- 
morrow, ere the dawn, a galley that but yesterday came from 
Alexandria, bearing fruit and stores, sails thither again, 
and its captain is known to me, but to thee he is not known. 
Now, I will find thee the garb of a Syrian merchant, and 
cloak thee, as I know how, and furnish thee with a letter to 
the captain of the galley. He shall give thee passage to 
Alexandria ; for to him thou wilt seem but as a merchant 
going on the business of thy trade. Brennus is officer of the 
guard to-night, and Brennus is a friend to mo and thee. Per- 
haps he will guess somewhat; or, perhaps, he will not 
guess ; at the least, the Syrian merchant shall safely pass the 
linos. What sayest thou ? ' 

'It is well,' I answered wearily; 'little do I reck the 
issue.' 

1 Best thou, then, here, Harmachis, while I make these 



CLEOPATRA 237 

matters ready ; and, Barmachis, grieve not overmuch ; there 
others who should grieve more heavily than thou.' And 
she went. Leaving me alone with my agony which rent me like 
a torture-bed. Ead it not been for that fierce desire of ven- 
geance which from time to time flashed across my tormented 
mind as the lightning over a midnight sea, methinks my reason 
had Left me in that dark hour. At length I heard her foot- 
p at the door, and she entered, breathing heavily, for she 
bore a sack of clothing in her arms. 

' It is well.' she said ; ' here is the garb with spare linen, 
and writing-tablets, and all things needful. I have seen 
Brennus also, and told him that a Syrian merchant would 
pass the guard an hour before the dawn. And though lie made 
pretence of sleep, I think he understood, for he answered, 
yawning, that if they but had the pass-word, " Antony," flfty 
Syrian merchants might go through about their lawful busi- 
ness. And here is the letter to the captain — thou canst not 
mistake the galley, for she is moored along to the right - a 
small galley," painted black, as thou dost enter on the great 
quay, and, moreover, the sailors make ready for sailing. Now 
I will wait here without, while thou dost put off the livery of 
thy service and array thyself.' 

When she was gone I tore off my gorgeous garments and 
spat upon them and trod them on the ground. Then I put 
on the modest robe of a merchant, and bound the tablets 
round me, on my feet the sandals of untanned hide, and at 
my waist the knife. "When it was done Charmion entered 
once again and looked on me. 

1 Too much art thou still the royal Harmachis, ' she said ; 
1 see, it must be changed.' 

Then she took scissors from her tiring-table, and, bidding 
me be seated, she cut off my locks, clipping the hair close to 
the head. Next she found stains of such sort as women use 



238 CLEOPA TRA 

to make dark the eyes, and mixed them cunningly, rubbing 
the stuff on my face and hands and on the white mark in my 
hair where the sword of Brennus had bitten to the bone. 

' Now thou art changed — somewhat for the worse, Harma- 
chis,' she said, with a dreary laugh, ' scarce myself should I 
know thee. Stay, there is one more thing,' and, going to a 
chest of garments, she drew thence a heavy bag of gold. 

' Take thou this,' she said; 'thou wilt have need of 
money.' 

1 1 cannot take thy gold, Charmion.' 

1 Yes, take it. It was Sepa who gave it to me for the 
furtherance of our cause, and therefore it is fitting that thou 
shouldst spend it. Moreover, if I want money, doubtless 
Antony, who is henceforth my master, will give me more ; he is 
much beholden to me, and this he knows well. There, waste 
not the precious time in haggling o'er the pelf— not yet art 
thou all a merchant, Harmachis ; ' and, without more words, 
she thrust the pieces into the leather bag that hung across my 
shoulders. Then she made fast the sack containing the spare 
garments, and, so womanly thoughtful was she, placed in it 
an alabaster jar of pigment, with which I might stain my 
countenance afresh, and, taking the broidered robes of my 
office that I had cast off, hid them in the secret passage. And 
so at last all was made ready. 

' Is it time that I should go ? ' I asked. 

1 Not yet a while. Be patient, Harmachis, for but one 
little hour more must thou endure my presence, and then, per- 
chance, farewell for ever.' 

I made a gesture signifying that this was no time for sharp 
words. 

4 Forgive me my quick tongue,' she said ; ' but from a salt 
spring bitter waters well. Be seated, Harmachis; I have 
heavier words fco speak fco fchee before thou goest.' 



CLEOPA TRA 

Say on,' I answered; ' words, however heavy, can move 
me no more.' 

She Btood before me with folded hands, and the lamp-light 
shone upon her beauteous face. 1 noticed idly how great was 
its pallor and how wide and dark were the rings about the 
deep black eyes. Twice she lifted her white face and strove 
bo Bpeak, twice her voice failed her ; and when at last it came 
it was in a hoarse whisper. 

1 1 cannot let thee go,' she said — ' I cannot let thee go un- 
witting of the truth. 

1 Harmachis, 'twas I ivho did betray tltce I ' 

I sprang to my feet, an oath upon my lips ; but she caught 
me by the hand. 

' Oh, be seated,' she said — ' be seated and hear me ; then, 
when thou hast heard, do to me as thou wilt. Listen. 
From that evil moment when, in the presence of thy uncle 
Sepa, for the second time I set eyes upon thy face, I loved 
thee — how much, thou canst little guess. Think upon thine 
own love for Cleopatra, and double it, and double it again, 
and perchance thou mayst come near to my love's mighty 
sum. I loved thee, day by day I loved thee more, till in thee 
and for thee alone I seemed to live. But thou wast cold — 
thou wast worse than cold ! thou didst deal with me not as a 
breathing woman, but rather as the instrument to an end- 
as a tool with which to grave thy fortunes. And then I saw 
— yes, long before thou knewest it thyself — thy heart's tide 
was setting strong towards that ruinous shore whereon to- 
day thy life is broken. And at last that night came, that 
dreadful night when, hid within the chamber, I saw thee cast 
my kerchief to the winds, and with sweet words cherish my 
royal Rival's gift. Then — oh, thou knowest — in my pain I 
betrayed the secret that thou wouldst not see, and thou didst 
make a mock of me, Harmachis ! Oh ! the shame of it — 



240 CLEOPA TRA 

thou in thy foolishness didst make a mock of me ! I went 
thence, and within me were rising all the torments which can 
tear a woman's heart, for now I was sure that thou didst love 
Cleopatra ! Ay, and so mad was I, even that night I was 
minded to betray thee : but I thought — not yet, not yet ; to- 
morrow he may soften. Then came the morrow, and all was 
ready for the bursting of the great plot that should make thee 
Pharaoh. And I too came — thou dost remember— and again 
thou didst put me away when I spake to thee in parables, as 
something of little worth — as a thing too small to claim a 
moment's weighty thought. And, knowing that this was 
because — though thou knewest it not — thou didst love 
Cleopatra, whom now thou must straightway slay, I grew 
mad, and a wicked Spirit entered into me, possessing me 
utterly, so that I was myself no longer, nor could control 
myself. And because thou hadst scorned me, I did this, to 
my everlasting shame and sorrow ! — I passed into Cleopatra's 
presence and betrayed thee and those with thee, and our 
holy cause, saying that I had found a writing which thou 
hadst let fall and read all this therein.' 

I gasped and sat silent ; and gazing sadly at me she went 
on : 

' When she understood how great was the plot, and how 
deep its roots, Cleopatra was much troubled ; and, at first, 
she would have fled to Sais or taken ship and run for Cyprus, 
but I showed her that the ways were barred. Then she said she 
would cause thee to be slain, there, in the chamber, and I left 
her so believing ; for, at that hour, I was glad that thou shouldst 
be slain - ay, even if I wept out my heart upon thy grave, Har- 
] 1 1,1 chis. ]>ut what said I just now ? — Vengeance is an arrow 
tli at oft falls on him who looses it. So it was with me; for 
between my going and thy coming Cleopatra hatched a deeper 
plan. She feared that to slav thee would only be to light a 



CLEOPATRA 241 

fiercer fire of revolt ; but she saw that to bind thee to her, 
ami. having Left nun awhile in doubt, to show thee faithless, 
would strike the Imminent danger at its roots and wither it. 
This plot once formed, being great, she dared its doubtful 
issue, and — need I go on ? Thou knowest, Harmachis, how 
she won ; and thus the shaft of vengeance that I loosed fell 
upon my own head. For on the morrow I knew that I had 
sinned for naught, that the burden of my betrayal had been 
Laid on the wretched Paulus, and that I had but ruined the 
cause to which I was sworn and given the man I loved to the 
arms of wanton Egypt.' 

She bowed her head awhile, and then, as I spoke not, 
once more went on : 

4 Let all my sin be told, Harmachis, and then let justice 
come. See now, this thing happened. Half did Cleopatra 
learn to love thee, and deep in her heart she bethought her 
of taking thee to wedded husband. For the sake of this half 
love of hers she spared the lives of those in the plot whom 
she had meshed, bethinking her that if she wedded thee she 
might use them and thee to draw the heart of Egypt, which 
loves not her nor any Ptolemy. And then, once again she 
entrapped thee, and in thy folly thou didst betray to her the 
secret of the hidden wealth of Egypt, which to-day she 
squanders to delight the luxurious Antony ; and, of a truth, at 
that time she purposed to make good her oath and marry thee. 
But on the very morn when Dellius came for answer she sent 
for me, and, telling me all — for my wit, above any, she holds 
at price — demanded of me my judgment whether she should 
defy Antony and wed thee, or whether she should put the 
thought away and come to Antony. And I — now mark thou 
all my sin — I, in my bitter jealousy, rather than I would 
see her thy wedded wife and thou her loving lord, counselled 
her most strictly that she should come to Antony, well 

R 



242 CLEOPA TRA 

knowing— for I had had speech with Dellius — that if she 
came, this weak Antony would fall like a ripe fruit at her 
feet, as, indeed, he has fallen. And but now I have shown 
thee the issue of the scheme. Antony loves Cleopatra and 
Cleopatra loves Antony, and thou art robbed, and matters 
have gone well for me, who of all women on the earth to-night 
am the wretchedest by far. For when I saw how thy heart 
broke but now, my heart seemed to break with thine, and I 
could no longer bear the burden of my evil deeds, but knew 
that I must tell them and take my punishment. 

1 And now, Harmachis, I have no more to say ; save that I 
thank thee for thy courtesy in hearkening, and this one thing I 
add. Driven by my great love I have sinned against thee unto 
death ! I have ruined thee, I have ruined Khem, and myself 
also have I ruined ! Let death reward me ! Slay thou me, 
Harmachis — I will gladly die upon thy sword ; ay, and kiss 
its blade ! Slay thou me and go ; for if thou slayest me not, 
myself I will surely slay ! ' And she threw herself upon her 
knees, lifting her fair breast toward me, that I might smite 
her with my dagger. And, in my bitter fury, I was minded 
to strike ; for, above all, I thought how, when I was fallen, 
this woman, who herself was my cause of shame, had scourged 
me with her whip of scorn. But it is hard to slay a fair 
woman ; and, even as I lifted my hand to strike, I remembered 
that she had now twice saved my life. 

1 Woman ! thou shameless woman ! ' I said, ' arise ! I 
slay thee not ! Who am I, that I should judge thy crime, 
that, with mine own, doth overtop all earthly judgment ? ' 

' Slay me, Harmachis ! ' she moaned ; ' slay me, or I slay 
myself ! My burden is too great for me to bear ! Be not so 
deadly calm ! Curse me, and slay ! ' 

1 What was it that thou didst say to me just now, Charmion 
— that as I had sown so I must reap? It is not lawful that 



CLEOPATRA 

thou shouldst slay thyself ; ii is not lawful thai [, thine equal 
in sin, should slay thee because through thee I Binned. As 
thou hast sown. Charmion, so must thou also reap. Base 
woman ! whose cruel jealousy lias brought all these woes 
on me and Egypt, live live on, and from year to year pluck 
the bitter fruit of orime ! Haunted be thy sleep by visions of 
thy outraged ('.ods. whose vengeance awaits thee and me in 
their dim Amenti ! Haunted be thy days by memories of that 
man whom thy fierce love brought to shame and ruin, and 
by the sight of Khem a prey to the insatiate Cleopatra and a 
slave to Roman Antony.' 

1 Oh, speak not thus, Harmachis ! Thy words are sharper 
than any sword ; and more surely, if more slowly, shall 
they slay ! Listen, Harmachis,' and she grasped my robe : 
1 when thou wast great, and all power lay within thy grasp, 
thou didst reject me. Wilt reject me now that Cleopatra, 
hath cast thee from her — now that thou art poor and shamed 
and with no pillow to thy head ? Still am I fair, and still I 
worship thee. Let me fly w^ith thee, and make atonement 
by my lifelong love. Or, if this be too great a thing to ask, 
let me be but as thy sister and thy servant — thy very slave, 
so that I may still look upon thy face, and share thy trouble 
and minister to thee. Harmachis, let me but come and I 
w T ill brave all things and endure all things, and nothing but 
Death himself shall stay me from thy side. For I do believe 
that the love that sank me to so low a depth, dragging thee 
with me, can yet lift me to an equal height, and thee with 
me ! ' 

• Wouldst tempt me to fresh sin, woman ? And dost thou 
think, Charmion, that in some hovel where I must hide, I 
could bear, day by day, to look upon thy fair face, and seeing, 
remember that those lips betrayed me ? Not thus easily 
shalt thou atone ! This I know even now : many and heavy 

B 2 



244 CLEOPA TRA 

shall be thy lonely days of penance ! Perchance that houi 
of vengeance yet may come, and perchance thou shalt live 
to play thy part in it. Thou must still abide in the Court 
of Cleopatra ; and, while thou art there, if I yet live, I will 
from time to time find means to give thee tidings. Perhaps 
a day may dawn when once more I shall need thy service. 
Now, swear that, in this event, thou wilt not fail me a second 
time.' 

' I swear, Harmachis ! — I swear ! May everlasting tor- 
ments, too hideous to be dreamed — more hideous even, by 
far, than those that wring me now — be my portion if I fail 
thee in one jot or tittle — ay, though I wait a lifetime for thy 
word ! ' 

' It is well ; see that thou keep the oath — not twice may 
we betray. I go to work out my fate ; abide thou to work 
out thine. Perchance our divers threads will once more 
mingle ere the web be spun. Charmion, who unasked didst 
love me — and who, prompted by that gentle love of thine, 
didst betray and ruin me — fare thee well ! ' 

She gazed wildly upon my face— she stretched out her arms 
as though to clasp me ; then, in the agony of her despair, 
she cast herself at length and grovelled upon the ground. 

I took up the sack of clothing and the staff and gained the 
door, and, as I passed it, I threw one last glance upon her. 
There she lay, with arms outstretched — more white than 
her white robes — her dark hair streaming down her, and her 
fair brows hidden in the dust. 

And thus I left her, nor did I again set my eyes upon her 
till nine long years had come and gone. 

[Here ends the second and largest roll of papyrus.} 




And chas I leit her 



BOOK III. 

Zbc IDcmjeance of Ibarmacbis 



CLEOPA TRA 



••r 



CHAPTER I. 

OF THE ESCAPE OF HARMACHIS FROM TARSUS ; OF HIS BEING 
OAST FORTH AS AN OFFERING TO THE GODS OF THE SEA; 
OF His SOJOURN IN THE ISLE OF CYPRUS J OF HIS RETURN 
TO ABOUTHIS ; AND OF THE DEATH OF AMENEMHAT. 



MADE my way down the stair in 
safety, and presently stood in the 
courtyard of the great house. It 
was but an hour from dawn, and 
none were stirring. The last re- 
veller had drunk his fill, the dan- 
cing-girls had ceased their dancing, 
and silence lay upon the city. I 
drew near the gate, and was challenged 
by an officer who stood on guard, 
wrapped in a heavy cloak. 

4 Who passes ? ' said the voice of 
Brennus. 

1 A merchant, may it please you, Sir, who, having brought 
gifts from Alexandria to a lady of the Queen's household, and, 
having been entertained of the lady, now departs to his galley,' 
I answered in a feigned voice. 

1 Umph ! ' he growled. ' The ladies of the Queen's house- 
hold keep their guests late. Well ; it is a time of festival. 




248 CLEOPA TRA 

The pass-word, Sir Shopkeeper ? Without the pass-word 
you must needs return and crave the lady's further hospitality.' 

' " Antony" Sir ; and a right good word, too. Ah ! I've 
wandered far, and never saw I so goodly a man or so great 
a general. And, mark you, Sir ! I've travelled far, and seen 
many generals.' 

'Ay; " Antony " 's the word! And Antony is a good 
general in his way — when it is a sober way, and when he 
cannot find a skirt to follow. I've served with Antony — and 
against him, too ; and know his points. Well, well ; he's got 
an armful now ! ' 

And all this while that he was holding me in talk, the 
sentry had been pacing to and fro before the gate. But now 
he moved a little way to the right, leaving the entrance clear. 

1 Fare thee well, Harmachis, and begone ! ' whispered 
Brennus, leaning forward and speaking quickly. ' Linger 
not. But at times bethink thee of Brennus who risked his 
neck to save thine. Farewell, lad, I would that we were sail- 
ing North together,' and he turned his back upon me and 
began to hum a tune. 

' Farewell, Brennus, thou honest man,' I answered, and 
was gone. And, as I heard long afterwards, when on the 
morrow the hue and cry was raised because the murderers could 
not find me, though they sought me everywhere to slay mo, 
Brennus did me a service. For he swore that as he kept his 
watch alone an hour after midnight he saw me come and stand 
upon the parapet of the roof, that then I stretched out my robes 
and they became wings on which I floated up to Heaven, leaving 
him astonished. And all those about the Court lent ear to 
this history, believing in it, because of the great fame of my 
magic ; and they wondered much what the marvel might 
portend. The tale also travelled into Kgypt, and did much 
to save my good name among those whom I had betrayed; 



CLEOPATRA 249 

for tin 1 more [gnoranl among them believed that 1 acted not 
of my will, but of the will of 1 he dread Gods, who of their own 
purpose wafted me to Beaven, And thus to this day the saying 
runs that 4 When Harmackis comes again Egypt shall be free,' 
But alas, Barmaohis comes no more I Only Cleopatra, though 
she was much afraid, doubted her of the tale, and sent an 
annul vessel to search for the Syrian merchant, but not to 
iind him, as shall be told. 

When I reached the galley of which Charmion had spoken, 
I found her about to sail, and gave the writing to the captain, 
who conned it, looking on me curiously, but said nothing. 

So I went aboard, and immediately we dropped swiftly 
down the river with the current. And having come to the 
mouth of the river unchallenged, though we passed many 
vessels, we put out to sea with a strong favouring wind that 
before night freshened to a great gale. Then the sailor 
men, being much afraid, would have put about and run for 
the mouth of Cydnus again, but could not because of the 
wildness of the sea. All that night it blew furiously, and 
by dawn our mast was carried away, and we rolled helplessly 
in the trough of the great waves. But I sat wrapped in a 
cloak, little heeding ; and because I showed no fear the sailors 
cried out that I was a wizard, and sought to cast me into 
the sea, but the captain would not. At dawn the wind 
slackened, but ere noon it once more blew in terrible fury, 
and at the fourth hour from noon we came in sight of the rocky 
coast of that cape in the island of Cyprus which is called 
Dinaretum, where is a mountain named Olympus, and thither- 
wards we drifted swiftly. Then, when the sailors saw the 
terrible rocks, and how the great waves that smote on them 
spouted up in foam, once more they grew much afraid, and 
cried out in their fear. For, seeing that I still sat unmoved, 



2 5o C LEO PA TRA 

they swore that I certainly was a wizard, and came to cast 
me forth as a sacrifice to the Gods of the sea. And this time 
the captain was over- ruled, and said nothing. Therefore, 
when they came to me I rose and defied them, saying, ' Cast 
me forth, if ye will ; but if ye cast me forth ye shall perish.' 

For in my heart I cared little, having no more any love of 
life, but rather a desire to die, though I greatly feared to pass 
into the presence of my Holy Mother Isis. But my weariness 
and sorrow at the bitterness of my lot overcame even this 
heavy fear ; so that when, being mad as brute beasts, they 
seized me and, lifting me, hurled me into the raging waters, 
I did but utter one prayer to Isis and made ready for death. 
But it was fated that I should not die ; for, when I rose to the 
surface of the water, I saw a spar of wood floating near me, 
to which I swam and clung. And a great wave came and 
swept me, riding, as it were, upon the spar, as when a boy I 
had learned to do in the waters of the Nile, past the bulwarks 
of the galley where the fierce-faced sailors clustered to see me 
drown. And when they saw me come mounted on the wave, 
cursing them as I came, and saw, too, that the colour of 
my face had changed — for the salt water had washed away 
the pigment, they shrieked with fear and threw themselves 
down upon the deck. And within a very little while, as I 
rode toward the rocky coast, a great wave poured into the 
vessel, that rolled broadside on, and pressed her down into 
the deep, whence she rose no more. 

Bo she sank with all her crew. And in that same storm 
also sank the galley which Cleopatra had sent to search for the 
Syrian merchant. Thus all traces of me were lost, and of a 
surety she believed that I was (lend. 

But I rode on toward the shore. The wind shrieked and 
the salt waves lashed my face as, alone with the tempest, I 
rushed upon my way, while the Bea birds screamed about my 




1 eaw a spar of wood, to which I swam.' 



CLEOPATRA 251 

head. I felt no fear, but rather a wild uplifting of the hear! ; 

and in the stress of my imminent peril the love of life seenx d 
to waken again. And so 1 plunged and drifted, now tossed 
high toward the lowering clouds, now cast into the deep 
valleys oi the sea. till at Length the rocky headland loomed 
before me, and I saw the breakers smite upon the stubborn 
rocks, and through the screaming of the wind heard the sullen 
thunder of their fall and the groan of stones sucked seaward 
from the beach. On ! high-throned upon the mane of a 
mighty billow— fifty cubits beneath me the level of the hissing 
waters ; above me the inky sky ! It was done ! The spar 
was torn from me, and, dragged downwards by the weight of 
the bag of gold and the clinging of my garments, I sank 
struggling furiously. 

Now I was under — the green light for a moment streamed 
through the waters, and then came darkness, and on the dark- 
ness pictures of the past. Picture after picture — all the long 
scene of life was written here. Then in my ears I only heard 
the song of the nightingale, the murmur of the summer sea, 
and the music of Cleopatra's laugh of victory, following me 
softly and yet more soft as I sank away to sleep. 

Once more my life came back, and with it a sense of deadly 
sickness and of aching pain. I opened my eyes and saw kind 
faces bending over me, and knew that I was in the room of a 
builded house. 

' How came I hither ? ' I asked faintly. 

' Of a truth, Poseidon brought thee, Stranger,' answered 
a rough voice in barbarous Greek ; ' we found thee cast high 
upon the beach like a dead dolphin and brought thee to our 
house, for we are fisher-folk. And here, methinks, thou must 
lie a while, for thy left leg is broken by the force of the 
waves.' 



252 CLEOPATRA 

I strove to move my foot and could not. It was true, the 
bone was broken above the knee. 

1 Who art thou, and how art thou named ? ' asked the 
rough-bearded sailor. 

' I am an Egyptian traveller whose ship has sunk in the 
fury of the gale, and I am named Olympus,' I answered, for 
these people called a mountain that we had sighted Olympus, 
and therefore I took the name at hazard. And as Olympus 
I was henceforth known. 

Here with these rough fisher-folk I abode for the half of a 
year, paying them a little out of the sum of gold that had 
come safely ashore upon me. For it was long before my 
bones grew together again, and then I was left somewhat of 
a cripple ; for I, who had been so tall and straight and strong, 
now limped — one limb being shorter than the other. And 
after I recovered from my hurt, I still lived there, and toiled 
with them at the trade of fishing ; for I knew not whither I 
should go or what I should do, and, for a while, I was fain to 
become a peasant fisherman, and so wear my weary life away. 
And these people entreated me kindly, though, as others, they 
feared me much, holding me to be a wizard brought hither 
by the sea. For my sorrows had stamped so strange an 
aspect on my face that men gazing at me grew fearful of 
what lay beneath its calm. 

There, then, I abode, till at length, one night as I lay 
and strove to sleep, great restlessness came upon me, and a 
mighty desire once more to see the face of Sihor. But 
whether this desire was of the Gods or born of my own heart, 
not knowing, I cannot tell. So strong was it, at the least, 
that before it was dawn I rose from m\ bed of straw and 
clothed myself in my G her garb, and, because I had no wish 
to answer questions, thus I took farewell of my humble hosts. 
I'i t I placed some pieces of gold on the well-cleaned table of 



CLEOPATRA 253 

WOOd, and then taking a pot of Hour I strewed it in the form of 
Letters, writing : 

lis gift from Olympus, the Egyptian, who returns into 
the a 

Then 1 went, and on the third day I came to the great 
city of Salamis, that is also on the sea. Here I abode in 
the fishermen's quarters till a vessel was about to sail for 
Alexandria, and to the captain of this vessel, a man of Paphos, 
I hired myself as a sailor. We sailed with a favouring 
wind, and on the fifth day I came to Alexandria, that hateful 
city, and saw the light glancing on its golden domes. 

Here I might not abide. So again I hired myself out 
as a sailor, giving my labour in return for passage, and we 
passed up the Nile. And I learned from the talk of men that 
Cleopatra had come back to Alexandria, drawing Antony with 
her and that they lived together with royal state in the palace 
on the Lochias. Indeed, the boatmen already Iiad a song 
thereon, which they sang as they laboured at the oar. Also I 
heard how the galley that was sent to search for the vessel 
which carried the Syrian merchant had foundered with all her 
crew, and the tale that the Queen's astronomer, Harmachis, 
had flown to Heaven from the roof of the house at Tarsus. 
And the sailors wondered because I sat and laboured and 
would not sing their ribald song of the loves of Cleopatra. For 
they, too, began to fear me, and mutter concerning me among 
themselves. Then I knew that I was a man accursed and set 
apart — a man whom none might love. 

On the sixth day we drew nigh to Abouthis, where I left 
the craft, and the sailors were right glad to see me go. And, 
with a breaking heart, I walked through the fertile fields, seeing 
faces that I knew well. But in my rough disguise and limp- 
ing gait none knew me. At length, as the sun sank, I came 
near to the great outer pylon of the temple ; and here 1 



254 CLEOPATRA 

crouched down in the ruins of a house, not knowing why 
I had come or what I was about to do. Like a lost ox I had 
strayed from far, back to the fields of my birth, and for what ? 
If my father, Amenemhat, still lived, surely he would turn his 
face from me. I dared not go into the presence of my father. 
I sat hidden there among the broken rafters, and idly watched 
the pylon gates, to see if, perchance, a face I knew should issue 
from them. But none came forth or entered in, though the 
great gates stood wide ; and then I saw that herbs were growing 
between the stones, where no herbs had grown for ages. What 
could this be ? Was the temple deserted ? Nay ; how could 
the worship of the eternal Gods have ceased, that for thousands 
of years had, day by day, been offered in the holy place ? 
Was, then, my father dead ? It well might be. And yet, 
why this silence ? Where were the priests : where the wor- 
shippers ? 

I could bear the doubt no more, but as the sun sank red I 
crept like a hunted jackal through the open gates, and on till 
I reached the first great Hall of Pillars. Here I paused and 
gazed around me — not a sight, not a sound, in the dim and 
holy place ! I went on with a beating heart to the second 
great hall, the hall of six-and-thirty pillars where I had been 
crowned Lord of all the Lands : still not a sight or a sound ! 
Thence, half fearful of my own footfall, so terribly did it echo 
in the silence of the deserted Holies, I passed down the 
passage of the names of the Pharaohs towards my father's 
chamber. The curtain still swung over the doorway ; but 
what would there be within '?— also emptiness? I lifted it, 
and noiselessly passed in, and there in his carven chair at 
the table on which his long white beard flowed down, sat my 
father, Amenemhat, clad in his priestly robes. At first I 
thought that he was dead, he s;it so still ; but at length he 
turned hie head, and 1 saw that his eyes were white and 



CLEOPATRA 255 

sightless. 1 ic was blind, and his fare was thin as the face uf a 
dead man. and woeful with age and grief. 

I stood still and felt the blind eyes wandering over me. I 
could not speak to him 1 dared not speak to him ; I would 
go and hide myself afresh, 

I had already turned and grasped the curtain, when my 
father spoke in a deep, slow voice : 

4 Come hither, thou who wast my son and art a traitor. 
Come hither, thou Harmachis, on whom Kliem builded up her 
hope. Not in vain, then, have 1 drawn thee from far away ! 
Not in vain have I held my life in me till I heard thy footfall 
creeping down these empty Holies, like the footfall of a thief! ' 
1 Oh ! my father,' I gasped, astonished. ' Thou art blind: 
how knowest thou me ? ' 

' How do I know thee ? — and askest thou that who hast 
learned of our lore '? Enough, I know thee and I brought thee 
hither. Would, Harmachis, that I knew thee not ! Would that 
I had been blasted of the Invisible ere I drew thee down from 
the womb of Nout, to be my curse and shame, and the last 
woe of Khem ! ' 

1 Oh, speak not thus ! ' I moaned ; ' is not my burden 
already more than I can bear ? Am I not myself betrayed 
and utterly outcast ? Be pitiful, my father ! ' 

' Be pitiful ! — be pitiful to thee who hast shown so great 
pity ? It was thy pity which gave up noble Sepa to die be- 
neath the hands of the tormentors ! ' 
4 Oh, not that — not that ! ' I cried. 

4 Ay, traitor, that ! — to die in agony, with his last poor 
breath proclaiming thee, his murderer, honest and innocent ! 
Be pitiful to thee, who gavest all the flower of Khem as the 
price of a wanton's arms ! — thinkest thou that, labouring in 
the darksome desert mines, those noble ones in thought are 
pitiful to thee, Harmachis ? Be pitiful to thee, by whom this 



256 CLEOPATRA 

Holy Temple of Aboutbis hath been ravaged, its lands seized, 
its priests scattered, and I alone, old and withered, left to 
count out its ruin— to thee, who hast poured the treasures of 
Her into thy leman's lap, who hast forsworn Thyself, thy 
Country, thy Birthright, and thy Gods ! Yea, thus am I piti- 
ful : Accursed be thou, fruit of my loins ! — Shame be thy 
portion, Agony thy end, and Hell receive thee at the last ! 
Where art thou ? Yea, I grew blind with weeping when I 
heard the truth — sure, they strove to hide it from me. Let 
me find thee that I may spit upon thee, thou Kenegade ! thou 

Apostate ! thou Outcast ! ' and he rose from his seat and 

staggered like a living Wrath toward me, smiting the air with 
his wand. And as he came with outstretched arms, awful to 
see, suddenly his end found him, and with a cry he sank down 
upon the ground, the red blood streaming from his lips. I ran 
to him and lifted him ; and as he died, he babbled : 

1 He was my son, a bright-eyed lovely boy, and full of 

promise as the Spring ; and now — and now oh, would that 

he were dead ! ' 

Then came a pause and the breath rattled in his throat. 

1 Harmachis,' he gasped, ' art there ? ' 

1 Yea, father.' 

' Harmachis, atone ! — atone ! Vengeance can still be 
wreaked — forgiveness may still be won. There's gold ; I've 
hidden it — Atoua — she can tell thee— ah, this pain! Fare- 
well ! ' 

And he struggled faintly in my arms and was dead. 

Thus, then, did I and my holy father, the Prince Amen- 
emhat, meet together for the last time in the flesh, and for 
the last time part. 



CLEOPATRA 



257 



CHAPTER II. 

OF THE LAST MISERY OF HAEMACHIS J OF THE CALLING DOWN 
OF THE HOLY ISIS BY THE WOBD OF FEAR ; OF THE PRO- 
MISE of ibis; OF THE COMING OF ATOUA, AND OF THE 
WORDS OF ATOC \. 




CBOUCHED upon the floor gazing 
at the dead body of my father, 
who had lived to curse me, the 
utterly accursed, while the dark- 
ness crept and gathered round us, 
till at length the dead and I were 
alone in the black silence. Oh, 
how tell the misery of that hour ! 
Imagination cannot dream it, nor 
words paint it forth. Once more in my 
;1 ; ^V wretchedness I bethought me of death. A 

knife was at my girdle, with which I might cut 
the thread of sorrow and set my spirit free. Free? ay, 
free to fly and face the last vengeance of the Holy Gods ! 
Alas ! and alas ! I did not dare to die. Better the earth with 
all its woes than the quick approach of those miimagined 
terrors that, hovering in dim Amenti, wait the advent of the 
fallen. 

I grovelled on the ground and wept tears of agony for 
the lost unchanging past— wept till I could weep no more ; 

S 



258 CLEOPATRA 

but no answer came from the silence — no answer but the 
echoes of my grief. Not a ray of hope ! My soul wandered 
in a darkness more utter than that which was about me — I 
Was forsaken of the Gods and cast out of men. Terror took 
hold upon me crouching in that lonely place hard by the 
majesty of the awful Dead. I rose to fly. How could I fly in 
this gloom ? — how find my path down the passages and amid 
the columns ? And where should I fly who had no place of 
refuge ? Once more I crouched down, and the great fear 
grew on me till the cold sweat ran from my brow and my 
soul was faint within me. Then, in my last despair, I prayed 
aloud to Isis, to whom I had not dared to pray for many days. 

1 Isis ! Holy Mother ! ' I cried ; ' put away Thy wrath, 
and of Thine infinite pity, Thou all-pitiful, hearken to the 
voice of the anguish of him who was Thy son and servant, 
but who by sin hath fallen from the vision of Thy love. 
throned Glory, who, being in all things, hast of all things 
understanding and of all griefs knowledge, cast the weight of 
Thy mercy against the scale of my evil-doing, and make the 
balance equal. Look down upon my woe, and measure it ; 
count up the sum of my repentance, and take Thou note of 
the flood of sorrow that sweeps my soul away. Thou Holy, 
whom it was given to me to look upon face to face, by that 
dread hour of commune I summon Thee ; I summon Thee by 
the mystic word. Come, then, in mercy, to save me ; or, in 
anger, to make an end of that which can no more be borne.' 

And, rising from my knees, I stretched out my arms and 
dared to cry aloud the Word of Fear, to use which un- 
worthily is death. 

Swiftly the answer came. For in the silence I heard the 
sound of the shaken sistra heralding the coming of the Glory. 
Then, at the far end of the chamber, grew the semblance of 
the horned moon, gleaming faintly ill the darkness, and betwixt 






CLEOPATRA 259 

(the golden horns rested a small dark cloud, in and out of 
which the fiery serpent climbed. 

My knees waxed loose in the presence of the Glory, and 
1 sank down before it. 

Then Bpake the small, sweet Voice within the cloud : 

' Harmachis, who wast my servant and my son, I have 
heard thy prayer, and the summons that thou hast dared to 
utter, which on the lips of one with whom I have communed, 
hath power to draw Me from the Uttermost. No more, Har- 
machis, may we be one in the bond of Love Divine, for thou 
hast put Me away of thine own act. Therefore, after this 
long silence I come, Harmachis, clothed in terrors, and, per- 
chance, ready for vengeance, for not lightly can Isis be drawn 
from the halls of Her Divinity.' 

1 Smite, Groddess! ' I answered. ' Smite, and give me over 
to those who wreak Thy vengeance ; for I can no longer bear 
the burden of my woe ! ' 

' And if thou canst not bear thy burden here, upon this 
upper earth,' came the soft reply, ' how then shalt thou bear 
the greater burden that shall be laid upon thee there, coming 
defiled and yet unpurified into my dim realm of Death, that 
is Life and Change unending? Nay, Harmachis, I smite not, 
for not all am I wroth that thou hast dared to utter the awful 
Word which calls Me dow r n to thee. Hearken, Harmachis ; 
I praise not, and I reproach not, for I am the Minister of 
Reward and Punishment and the Executrix of Decrees ; and 
if I give, I give in silence ; and if I smite, in silence I do 
smite. Therefore, I will add naught to thy burden by the 
weight of heavy words, though through thee it has come to 
pass that soon shall Isis, the Mother-Mystery, be but a 
memory in Egypt. Thou hast sinned, and heavy shall be 
thy punishment, as I did warn thee, both in the flesh and in my 
kingdom of Amenti. But I told thee that there is a road of 

s 2 



260 C LEO PA TEA 

repentance, and surely thy feet are set thereon, and therein 
must thou walk with a humble heart, eating of the bread of 
bitterness, till such time as thy doom be measured.' 

1 Have I, then, no hope, Holy ? ' 

' That which is done, Harmachis, is done, nor can its 
issues be altered. Khem shall no more be free till all its 
temples are as the desert dust ; strange Peoples shall, from 
age to age, hold her hostage and in bonds ; new Religions 
shall arise and wither within the shadow of her pyramids, for 
to every World, Race, and Age the countenances of the Gods 
are changed. This is the tree that shall spring from thy 
seed of sin, Harmachis, and from the sin of those who tempted 
thee ! ' 

' Alas ! I am undone ! ' I cried. 

1 Yea, thou art undone ; and yet shall this be given to 
thee : thy Destroyer thou shalt destroy — for so, in the purpose 
of my justice, it is ordained. When the sign comes to thee, 
arise, go to Cleopatra, and in such manner as I shall put 
into thy heart do Heaven's vengeance on her ! And now for 
thyself one word, for thou hast put Me from thee, Harmachis, 
and no more shall I come face to face with thee till, cycles 
hence, the last fruit of thy sin hath ceased to be upon this 
earth ! Yet, through the vastness of the unnumbered years, 
remember thou this: that Love Divine is Love Eternal, which 
cannot be extinguished, though it be everlastingly estranged. 
Repent, my son ; repent and do well while there is yet time, 
that at the dim end of ages thou mayst once more be gathered 
unto Me. Still, Harmachis, though thou seest Me not ; still, 
when the very name by which thou knowest Me has become a 
meaningless mystery to those who shall be after thee ; still 
I, whose hours are eternal — I, who have watched Universes 
wither, wane, and, beneath the breath of Time, melt into 
nothingness ; again to gather, and, re-born, thread the 



CLEOPA TRA 261 

maze of space— still, I say, I shall companion theo. Wherever 
thou goest, in whatev< r form of life thou livest, there I shall 
be ! Art thou wafted to the farthest star, art thou buried in 
Anient is lowest deep— in lives, in deaths, in sleeps, in wak- 
ings, in remembrances, in oblivions, in all the fevers of the 
outer Life, in all the changes of the Spirit— still, if thou wilt 
but atone and forget Me no more, I shall be with thee, wait- 
ing thine hour of redemption. For this is the nature of 
Love Divine, wherewith it loves that which partakes of its 
divinity and by the holy tie hath once been bound to it. 
Judge then, Harmachis : was it well to put this from thee to 
win the dust of earthly woman ? And, now, dare not again 
to utter the Word of Power till these things are done ! 
Harmachis, for this season, fare thee well ! ' 

As the last note of the sweet Voice died away, the fiery 
snake climbed into the heart of the cloud. Now the cloud 
rolled from the horns of light, and was gathered into the 
blackness. The vision of the crescent moon grew dim and 
vanished. Then, as the Goddess passed, once more came the 
faint and dreadful music of the shaken sistra, and all was 
still. 

I hid my face in my robe, and even then, though my out- 
stretched hand could touch the chill corpse of that father who 
had died cursing me, I felt hope come back into my heart, 
knowing that I was not altogether lost nor utterly rejected of 
Her whom I had forsaken, but whom I yet loved. And then 
weariness overpowered me, and I slept. 

I woke, the faint lights of dawn were creeping from the 
opening in the roof. Ghastly they lay upon the shadowy 
sculptured walls and ghastly upon the dead face and 
white beard of my father, the gathered to Osiris. I started 



262 CLEOPA TRA 

up, remembering all things, and wondering in my heart what 
I should do, and as I rose I heard a faint footfall creeping 
down the passage of the names of the Pharaohs. 

1 La I La I La ! ' mumbled a voice that I knew for the 
voice of the old wife, Atoua. ' Why, 'tis dark as the House 
of the Dead ! The Holy Ones who built this Temple loved 
not the blessed sun, however much they worshipped him. 
Now, where's the curtain ? ' 

Presently it was drawn, and Atoua entered, a stick in one 
hand and a basket in the other. Her face was somewhat 
more wrinkled, and her scanty locks were somewhat 
whiter than aforetime, but for the rest she was as she had 
ever been. She stood and peered around with her sharp 
black eyes, for as yet she could see nothing because of the 
shadows. 

' Now where is he ? ' she muttered. ' Osiris — glory to His 
name — send that he has not wandered in the night, and he 
blind ! Alack ! that I could not return before the dark. 
Alack ! and alack ! what times have we fallen on, when the 
Holy High Priest and the Governor, by descent, of Abouthis, 
is left with one aged crone to minister to his infirmity ! 
Harmachis, my poor boy, thou hast laid trouble at our doors ! 
Why, what's this? Surely he sleeps not, there upon the 
ground ?— 'twill be his death ! Prince ! Holy Father ! Amen- 
emhat ! awake, arise ! ' and she hobbled towards the corpse. 
1 Why, how is it ! By Him who sleeps, he's dead ! untended 
and alone — dead ! dead t ' and she sent her long wail of grief 
ringing up the sculptured walls. 

'Hush! woman, be still I ' I said, gliding from the 
shadows. 

' Oli, what art thou ? ' she cried, casting down her basket. 
' Wicked man, hast thou murdered this Holy One, the only 
Holy One in Egypt? Surely the curse will fall on thee, for 



CLEOPATRA 263 

though the Gods do aeem to have forsaken us now in our hour 
of trial, vet is their arm Long, and certainly they will be 
avenged on him who hath slain their anointed ! ' 

' Look on me, Atoua,' I cried. 

'Look ! ay, I look — thou wicked wanderer who hast dared 
this cruel deed ! Harmachia is a traitor and lost far away, and 
Amenemhat his holy father is murdered, and now I'm all 
alone without kith or kin. I gave them for him. I gave them 
for Harmaohis, the traitor ! Come, slay me also, thou wicked 
one ! ' 

I took a step toward her, and she, thinking that I was 
about to smite her, cried out in fear : 

' Nay, good Sir, spare me ! Eighty and six, by the Holy 
Ones, eighty and six, come next flood of Nile, and yet I would 
not die, though Osiris is merciful to the old who served him! 
Come no nearer — help ! help ! 

1 Thou fool, be silent,' I said ; ' knowest thou me not ? ' 

1 Know thee ? Can I know every wandering boatman to 
whom Sebek grants to earn a livelihood till Typhon claims 
his own ? And yet — why, 'tis strange — that changed coun- 
tenance ! — that scar ! — that stumbling gait ! It is thou, 
Harmachis ! — 'tis thou, my boy ! Art come back to glad 
mine old eyes ? I hoped thee dead ! Let me kiss thee ? — 
nay, I forget. Harmachis is a traitor, ay, and a murderer ! 
Here lies the holy Amenemhat, murdered by the traitor, 
Harmachis ! Get thee gone ! I'll have none of traitors and 
of parricides ! Get thee to thy wanton ! — it is not thou whom 
I did nurse.' 

' Peace ! woman ; peace ! I slew not my father — he died, 
alas ! — he died even in my arms ! ' 

' Ay, surely, and cursing thee, Harmachis ! Thou hast 
given death to him who gave thee life ! La I la ! I am old, 
and I've seen many a trouble ; but this is the heaviest of 



264 CLEOPA TRA 

them all ! I never liked the looks of mummies ; but I would 
I were one this hour ! Get thee gone, I pray thee ! ' 

' Old nurse, reproach me not ! Have I not enough to bear ? ' 

' Ah ! yes, yes ! — I did forget ! Well ; and what is thy 
sin ? A woman was thy bane, as women have been to those 
before thee, and shall be to those after thee. And what a 
woman ! La ! la I I saw her, a beauty such as never was — 
an arrow pointed by the evil Gods for destruction ! And thou, 
a young man bred as a priest — an ill training — a very ill 
training ! 'Twas no fair match. Who can wonder that she 
mastered thee ? Come, Harmachis ; let me kiss thee ! It is 
not for a woman to be hard upon a man because he loved our 
sex too much. Why, that is but nature ; and Nature knows 
her business, else she had made us otherwise. But here is an 
evil case. Knowest thou that this Macedonian Queen of thine 
hath seized the temple lands and revenues, and driven away 
the priests— all, save the holy Amenemhat, who lies here, and 
whom she left, I know not why ; ay, and caused the worship 
of the Gods to cease within these walls. Well, he's gone ! — 
he's gone ! and indeed he is better with Osiris, for his life was 
a sore burden to him. And hark thou, Harmachis : he hath 
not left thee empty-handed ; for, so soon as the plot failed, he 
gathered all his wealth, and it is large, and hid it — where, I 
can show thee — and it is thine by right of descent.' 

1 Talk not to me of wealth, Atoua. Where shall I go and 
how shall I hide my shame ? ' 

' Ah ! true, true ; here mayst thou not abide, for if they 
found thee, surely they would put thee to the dreadful death 
— ay, to the death by the waxen cloth. Nay, 1 will hide thee, 
and, when the funeral rites of the holy Amenemhat have been 
performed, we will fly hence, and cover us from the eyes of 
men till these sorrows ;ire forgotten. Lai la! it is a sad 
world, and full of trouble as the Nile mud is of beetles. Come, 
Harmachis, come.' 



CLEOPATRA 



>.(>5 



CHAPTER III. 

OF THE LIFE OF HIM WHO WAS NAMED THE LEARNED OLYMPUS, 
IN THE TOMB OF THE HARPERS THAT IS RY TAPE ; OF HIS 
COUNSEL TO CLEOPATRA ; OF THE MESSAGE OF CHARMION ; 
AND OF THE PASSING OF OLYMPUS DOWN TO ALEXANDRIA. 



HESE things then came to pass. 
For eighty days I was hidden of 
the old wife, Atoua, while the 
body of the Prince, my father, 
was made ready for burial by those 
skilled in the arts of embalming. 
And when at last all things were 
done in order, I crept from my hiding- 
place and made offerings to the spirit 
of my father, and placing lotus-flowers 
on his breast went thence sorrowing 
And on the following day, from where 
I lay hid, I saw the Priests of the 
Temple of Osiris and of the holy Shrine of Isis come forth, 
and in slow procession bear his painted coffin to the sacred 
lake and lay it beneath the funeral tent in the consecrated 
boat. I saw them celebrate the symbol of the trial of the 
dead, and name him above all men just, and then bear him 
thence to lay him by his wife, my mother, in the deep tomb 
that he had hewn in the rock near to the resting-place of the 




266 CLEOPA TRA 

most Holy Osiris, where, notwithstanding my sins, I, too, 
hope to sleep ere long. And when all these things were done 
and the deep tomb sealed, the wealth of my father having 
been removed from the hidden treasury and placed in safety, 
I fled, disguised, with the old wife, Atoua, up the Nile till we 
came to Tape, 1 and here in this great city I lay a while, till a 
place could be found where I should hide myself. 

And such a place I found. For to the north of the great 
city are brown and rugged hills, and desert valleys blasted of 
the sun, and in this place of desolation the Divine Pharaohs, 
my forefathers, hollowed out their tombs in the solid rock, the 
most part of which are lost to this day, so cunningly have 
they been hidden. But some are open, for the accursed 
Persians and other thieves broke into them in search of trea- 
sure. And one night — for by night only did I leave my hiding- 
place — just as the dawn was breaking on the mountain tops, 
I wandered alone in this sad valley of death, like to which 
there is no other, and presently came to the mouth of a tomb 
hidden amid great rocks, which afterwards I knew for the place 
of the burying of the Divine Rameses, the third of that name, 
now long gathered to Osiris. And by the faint light of the 
dawn creeping through the entrance I saw that it was spacious 
and that within were chambers. 

On the following night, therefore, I returned, bearing 
lights, with Atoua, my nurse, who ever ministered faithfully 
to me as when I was little and without discretion. And we 
searched the mighty tomb and came to the great Hall of the 
Sarcophagus of granite, in which the Divine Barneses sleeps, 
and saw the mystic paintings on the Avails : the symbol of 
fche Snake unending, the symbol of Ra resting upon tin 1 
Scarabffius, the symbol of Eta resting upon Nout, the symbol 
of the Huudlc'ss men, and many others, whereof, being 

1 Thebes. Ed, 



CLEOPATRA 267 

initiated, well I read the mysteries. And opening from the 
long descending passage 1 found chambers in which were 
paintings beautiful to behold, and of all manner of things. 
For beneath each chamber is entombed the master of the craft 
of which the paintings tell, he who was the chief of the servants 
of that craft in the house of this Divine Rameses. And on the 
walls of the last chamber — on the left-hand side, looking to- 
ward the Hall of the Sarcophagus — are paintings exceeding 
beautiful, and two blind harpers playing upon their bent harps 
before the God Mou ; and beneath the flooring these harpers, 
avIjo harp no more, are soft at sleep. Here, then, in this 
gloomy place, even in the tomb of the Harpers and the com- 
pany of the dead, I took up my abode ; and here for eight long 
years I worked out my penance and made atonement for my 
sin. But Atoua, because she loved to be near the light, abode 
in the chamber of Boats — that is, the first chamber on the 
right-hand side of the gallery looking toward the Hall of the 
Sarcophagus. 

And this was the manner of my life. On every second day 
the old wife, Atoua, went forth and brought water from the 
city and such food as is necessary to keep the life from failing, 
and also tapers made from fat. And one hour at the time of 
sunrise and one hour at the time of sunset did I go forth also 
to wander in the valley for my health's sake and to save my 
sight from failing in the great darkness of the tomb. But the 
other hours of the day and night, except when I climbed the 
mountain to watch the course of the stars, I spent in prayer 
and meditation and sleep, till the cloud of sin lifted from my 
heart and once more I drew near to the Gods, though with 
Isis, my heavenly Mother, I might speak no more. And I 
grew exceeding wise also, pondering on all those mysteries to 
which I held the key. For abstinence and prayer and sorrow- 
ful solitude wore away the grossness of my flesh, and with the 



268 CLEOPA TRA 

eyes of the Spirit I learned to look deep into the heart of things 
till the joy of Wisdom fell like dew upon my soul. 

Soon the rumour was wafted about the city that a certain 
holy man named Olympus abode in solitude in the tombs of 
the awful Valley of the Dead ; and hither came people bearing 
sick that I might cure them. And I gave my mind to the 
study of simples, in which Atoua instructed me ; and by lore 
and the weight of thought I gained great skill in medicine, and 
healed many sick. And thus ever, as time went on, my fame 
was noised abroad ; for it was said that I was also a magician 
and that in the tombs I had commune with the Spirits of the 
Dead. And this, indeed, I did— though it is not lawful for 
me to speak of these matters. Thus, then, it came to pass that 
no more need Atoua go forth to seek food and water, for the 
people brought it — more than was needful, for I would receive 
no fee. Now at first, tearing lest some in the hermit Olympus 
might know the lost Harmachis, I would only meet those who 
came in the darkness of the tomb. But afterwards, when I 
learned how it was held through all the land that Harmachis 
was certainly no more, I came forth and sat in the mouth of 
the tomb, and ministered to the sick, and at times calculated 
nativities for the great. And thus my fame grew continually, 
till at length folk journeyed even from Memphis and Alexandria 
to visit me ; and from them I learned how Antony had left 
Cleopatra for a while, and, Fulvia being dead, had married 
Octavia, the sister of Caesar. Many other things I learned 
also. 

And in the second year I did this : I despatched the old 
wife, Atoua, disguised as a seller of simples, to Alexandria 
bidding her seek out Charmion, and, if yet she found her faith- 
ful, reveal to her the secret of my way of life. So she went, 
and in the fifth month from her sailing returned, bearing 
Charmion's greetings and a token. And she told nie that she 



CLEOPATRA z(«j 

had found means to Bee Charmion, and, in talk, had let fall 
the name of Harmachis, speaking of me as one dead ; at which 
Oharmion, unable to control her grid', wept aloud. Then, 
reading her heart— for the old wife was very clever, and held 
the key of knowledge — she told her that Harmachis yet lived, 
and sent her greetings. Thereon Charmion wept yet more 
with joy. and kissed the old wife, and made her gifts, bidding 
her tell me that she ever kept her vow, and waited for my 
coming and the hour of vengeance. So, having learned many 
secrets, Atoua returned again to Tape. 

And in the following year messengers came to me from 
Cleopatra, bearing a sealed roll and great gifts. I opened the 
roll, and read this in it : 

1 Cleopatra to Olympus, the learned Egyptian who dwells 
in the Valley of Death by Tape — 

4 The fame of thy renown, learned Olympus, hath reached 
our ears. Tell thou, then, this to us, and if thou tellest aright 
greater honour and wealth shalt thou have than any in Egypt : 
How shall we win back the love of noble Antony, who is be- 
witched of cunning Octavia and tarries long from us ? ' 

Now, in this I saw the hand of Charmion, who had made 
my renown known to Cleopatra. 

All that night I took counsel with my wisdom, and on the 
morrow wrote my answer as it was put into my heart to the 
destruction of Cleopatra and of Antony. And thus I wrote : 

4 Olympus the Egyptian to Cleopatra the Queen — 

4 Go forth into Syria with one who shall be sent to lead 
thee ; thus shalt thou win Antony to thy arms again, and 
with him gifts more great than thou canst dream.' 

And with this letter I dismissed the messengers, bidding 
them share the presents sent by Cleopatra among their 
company. 

So they went wondering. 



27o CLEOPATRA 

But Cleopatra, seizing on the advice to which her passion 
prompted her, departed straightway with Fonteius Capito into 
Syria, and there the thing came about as I had foretold, for 
Antony was subdued of her and gave her the greater part of 
Cilicia, the ocean shore of Arabia Nabathsea, the balm-bearing 
provinces of Judaea, the province of Phoenicia, the province of 
Ccele-Syria, the rich isle of Cyprus, and all the library of 
Pergamus. And to the twin children that, with the son 
Ptolemy, Cleopatra had borne to Antony, he impiously gave 
the names of ' Kings, the Children of Kings ' — of Alexander 
Helios, as the Greeks name the sun, and of Cleopatra 
Selene, the moon, the long-winged. 

These things then came to pass. 

Now on her return to Alexandria Cleopatra sent me great 
gifts, of which I would have none, and prayed me, the learned 
Olympus, to come to her at Alexandria ; but it was not yet 
time, and I would not. But thereafter she and Antony sent 
many times to me for counsel, and I ever counselled them to 
their ruin, nor did my prophecies fail. 

Tims the long years rolled away, and I, the hermit 
Olympus, the dweller in a tomb, the eater of bread and the 
drinker of water, by strength of the wisdom that was given 
me of the avenging Power, became once more great in Khem. 
For I grew ever wiser as I trampled the desires of the flesh 
beneath my feet and turned my eyes to heaven. 

At length eight full years were accomplished. The war 
with the Parthians had come and gone, and Artavasdes, King 
of Armenia, had been led in triumph through the streets of 
Alexandria. Cleopatra had visited Samos and Athens; and, 
by her counselling, the noble Octavia had been driven, like 
some discarded concubine, from the house of Antony at Rome. 
And now, at the last, the measure of the folly of Antony was 



( LEOPA TRA 271 

full even to the brim. For tins Master of the World had no 
longer the good gift of reason ; he was lost in Cleopatra as I 
had been lost. Therefore, in the event, Oetavianus deelared 
war against him. 

And ; ; I slept upon a certain day in the chamber of the 
Harpers, in the tomb of Pharaoh that is by Tape, there came 
to me a vision of my father, the aged Amenemhat, and he 
stood over me, leaning on his staff, and spoke, saying : 

1 Look forth, my son.' 

Then I looked forth, and with the eyes of my Spirit saw 
the sea, and two great fleets grappling in war hard by a rocky 
coast. And the emblems of one were those of Octavian, 
and of the other those of Cleopatra and Antony. The ships 
of Antony and Cleopatra bore down upon the ships of Caesar, 
and drove them on, for victory inclined to Antony. 

I looked again. There sat Cleopatra in a gold-decked 
galley watching the fight with eager eyes. Then I cast my 
Spirit on her so that she seemed to hear the voice of dead 
Harmachis crying in her ear. 

1 Fly, Cleopatra,' it seemed to say, l fly or perish ! 

She looked up wildly, and again she heard my Spirit's cry. 
Now a mighty fear took hold of her. She called aloud to the 
sailors to hoist the sails and make signal to her fleet to put 
about. This they did wondering but little loath, and fled in 
haste from the battle. 

Then a great roar went up from friend and foe. 

1 Cleopatra is fled ! Cleopatra is fled ! ' And I saw wreck 
and red ruin fall upon the fleet of Antony and awoke from 
my trance. 

The days passed, and again a vision of my father came to 
me and spoke, saying : 

' Arise, my son ! — the hour of vengeance is at hand ! Thy 
plots have not failed ; thy prayers have been heard. By the 



272 CLEOPATRA 

bidding of the Gods, as she sat in her galley at the fight of 
Actium, the heart of Cleopatra was filled with fears, so that, 
deeming she heard thy voice bidding her fly or perish, she 
fled with all her fleet. Now the strength of Antony is broken 
on the sea. Go forth, and as it shall be put into thy mind, 
so do thou.' 

In the morning I awoke, wondering, and went to the 
mouth of the tomb, and there, coming up the valley, I saw 
the messengers of Cleopatra, and with them a Eoman guard. 

1 What will ye with me now ? ' I asked, sternly. 

1 This is the message of the Queen and of great Antony,' 
answered the Captain, bowing low before me, for I was much 
feared of all men. ' The Queen commands thy presence at 
Alexandria. Many times has she sent, and thou wouldst 
not come ; now she bids thee to come, and that swiftly, for 
she has need of thy counsel.' 

1 And if I say Nay, soldier, what then ? ' 

' These are my orders, most holy Olympus ; that I bring 
thee by force.' 

I laughed aloud. ' By force, thou fool ! Use not such 
talk to me, lest I smite thee where thou art. Know, then, 
that I can kill as well as cure ! ' 

' Pardon, I beseech thee ! ' he answered, shrinking. ' I 
say but those things that I am bid.' 

' Well, I know it, Captain. Fear not ; I come.' 

So on that very day I departed, together with the aged 
Atoua. Ay, I went as secretly as 1 had come ; and the tomb 
of the Divine Rameees knew me no more. And with me I 
took all the treasure of my father, Amenemhat, for I was not 
minded to go to Alexandria empty-handed and as a suppliant, 
but rather as a man of much wealth and condition. Now, as 
1 went, I learned that Antony, following Cleopatra, had, 
indeed, lied from Aetiuin, and knew that the end drew nigh. 



EOPA TRA 273 

For tin's and many other tilings I had foreseen in the darkness 
of the tomb of Tape*, and planned to bring about. 

Thus, then, 1 came to Alexandria, and entered into a 
house which had been made ready for me at the palace 
gates. 

And that very night Charmion came to me — Charmion 
whom I had not seen for nine long years. 



274 



CLEOPATRA 



CHAPTER IV. 

OF THE MEETING OF CHAEMION WITH THE LEARNED 
OLYMPUS ; OF HER SPEECH WITH HIM | OF THE COMING 
OF OLYMPUS INTO THE PRESENCE OF CLEOPATRA ; AND 
OF THE COMMANDS OF CLEOPATRA. 



LAD in my plain dark robe, I sat in 
the guest-chamber of the house 
that had been made ready for me. 
I sat in a carven lion-footed chair, 
and looked upon the swinging lamps 
of scented oil, the pictured tapes- 
tries, the rich Syrian rugs — and, 
amidst all this luxury, bethought 
me of that tomb of the Harpers which 
is at Tape, and of the nine long years 
of dark loneliness and preparation. I 
sat ; and crouched upon a rug, near to 
the door, lay the aged Atoua. Her 
hair was white as snow, and shrivelled with age was the 
wrinkled countenance of the woman who, when all deserted 
me, had yet clung to me, in her great love forgetting my great 
sins. Nine years! nine long years ! and now, once again, I set 
my foot in Alexandria ! Once again in the appointed circle of 
tilings I came forth from the solitude of preparation to be a 
fate to Cleopatra; and this second time 1 came not forth to 
fail. 




CLEOPATRA 275 

And yet how changed the circumstance 1 I was out of the 

story : my pari now was but the part of the sword in the hands 
of Justice ; I might no more hope to make Egypt free and great 
and sit upon my lawful throne. Khem was lost, and lost was 
I. Harmachis. In the rush and turmoil of events, the great 
plot of which I had been the pivot was covered up and for- 
gotten ; scarce a memory of it remained. The curtain of dark 
night was closing in upon the history of my ancient Race ; its 
very Gods were tottering to their fall ; I could already, in the 
spirit, hear the shriek of the Roman eagles as they flapped 
their wings above the furthest banks of Sihor. 

Presently I roused myself and bade Atoua go seek a mir- 
ror and bring it to me, that I might look therein. 

And I saw this : a face shrunken and pallid, on which no 
smile came ; great eyes grown wan with gazing into darkness 
looking out beneath the shaven head, emptily, as the hollow 
eye -pits of a skull ; a wizened halting form wasted by absti- 
nence, sorrow, and prayer ; a long wild beard of iron grey ; thin 
blue-veined hands that ever trembled like a leaf ; bowed 
shoulders and lessened limbs. Time and grief had done their 
work indeed ; scarce could I think myself the same as wdien, 
the royal Harmachis — in all the splendour of my strength 
and youthful beauty — I first had looked upon the woman's 
loveliness that did destroy me. And yet within me burned 
the same fire as of yore ; yet I w T as not changed, for time and 
grief have no powder to alter the immortal spirit of man. 
Seasons may come and go ; Hope, like a bird, may fly away ; 
Passion may break its wings against the iron bars of Fate ; 
Illusions may crumble as the cloudy towers of sunset flame ; 
Faith, as running water, may slip from beneath our feet ; 
Solitude may stretch itself around us like the measureless 
desert sand ; Old Age may creep as the gathering night over 
our bowed heads grown hoary in their shame — yea, bound to 

T 2 



Z 7 6 CLEOPATRA 

fortune's wheel, we may taste of every turn of chance — now 
rale as Kings, now serve as Slaves ; now love, now hate ; now 
prosper, and now perish. But still, through all, we are the 
same ; for this is the marvel of Identity. 

And as I sat and thought these things in bitterness of heart, 
there came a knocking at the door. 

' Open, Atoua ! ' I said. 

She rose and did my bidding ; and a woman entered, clad 
in Grecian robes. It was Charmion, still beautiful as of old, 
but sad faced now and very sweet to see, with a patient fire 
slumbering in her downcast eyes. 

.She entered unattended ; and, speaking no word, the old 
wife pointed to where I sat, and went. 

1 Old man,' she said, addressing me, ' lead me to the learned 
Olympus. I come upon the Queen's business.' 

I rose, and, lifting my head, looked upon her. 

She gazed, and gave a little cry. 

1 Surely,' she whispered, glancing round, ' surely thou art 
not that ' And she paused. 

' That Harmachis whom once thy foolish heart did love, 
Charmion ? Yes, I am he and what thou seest, most fair 
lady. Yet is Harmachis dead whom thou didst love ; but 
Olympus, the skilled Egyptian, waits upon thy words ! ' 

' Cease ! ' she said, ' and of the past but one word, and 
then— why, let it lie. Not well, with all thy wisdom, canst thou 
know a true woman's heart, if thou dost believe, Harmachis, 
that it can change with the changes of the outer form, for then 
assuredly could no love follow its beloved to that last place of 
change — the Grave;. Know thou, learned Physician, I am of 
that sort who, loving once, love always, and being not beloved 

in, go virgin to the death.' 

She ceased and, having naught to say, I bowed my head in 



CLEOPATRA 277 

answer. Yet though 1 said nothing and though this woman's 
passionate folly had been the cause of all our ruin, to speak 
truth, in secret 1 was thankful toher who, wooed of all and living 
In this shameless Court, had still through the long years poured 
out her unreturned love upon an outcast, and who, when that 
poor broken slave of Fortune came hack in such unlovely guise, 
held him yet dear at heart. For what man is there who does 
not prize that gift most rare and beautiful, that one perfect 
thing which no gold can buy — a woman's unfeigned love ? 

1 1 thank thee that thou dost not answer,' she said ; ' for 
the bitter words which thou didst pour upon me in those days 
that long are dead, and far away in Tarsus, have not lost their 
poisonous sting, and in my heart is no more place for the 
arrows of thy scorn, new venomed through thy solitary years. 
So let it be. Behold ! I put it from me, that w T ild passion of 
my soul,' and she looked up and stretched out her hands as 
though to press some unseen presence back, ' I put it from 
me — though forget it I may not ! There, 'tis done, Har- 
machis ; no more shall my love trouble thee. Enough for me 
that once more my eyes behold thee, before sleep seals thee 
from their sight. Dost remember how, when I would have 
died by thy dear hand, thou wouldst not slay, but didst bid me 
live to pluck the bitter fruit of crime, and be accursed by 
visions of the evil I had wrought and memories of thee whom 
I have ruined ? ' 

' Ay, Charmion, I remember well.' 

1 Surely the cup of punishment has been filled. Oh ! 
couldst thou see into the record of my heart, and read in it 
the suffering that I have borne — borne with a smiling face — 
thy justice would be satisfied indeed ! ' 

' And yet, if report be true, Charmion, thou art the first 
of all the Court, and therein the most powerful and beloved. 
Does not Octavianus give it out that he makes war, not on 



278 CLEOPATRA 

Antony, nor even on his mistress, Cleopatra, but on Charmion 
and Iras ? ' 

* Yes, Harmachis, and think what it has been to me thus, 
because of my oath to thee, to be forced to eat the bread and 
do the tasks of one whom so bitterly I hate ! — one who robbed 
me of thee, and who, through the workings of my jealousy, 
brought me to be that which I am, brought thee to shame, 
and all Egypt to its ruin ! Can jewels and riches and the 
flattery of princes and nobles bring happiness to such a one 
as I, who am more wretched than the meanest scullion 
wench ? Oh, I have often wept till I was blind ; and then, 
when the hour came, I must arise and tire me, and, with a 
smile, go do the bidding of the Queen and that heavy Antony. 
May the Gods grant me to see them dead — ay, the twain of 
them ! — then myself I shall be content to die ! Thy lot has 
been hard, Harmachis ; but at least thou hast been free, and 
many is the time that I have envied thee the quiet of thy 
haunted cave.' 

1 1 do perceive, Charmion, that thou art mindful of thy 
oaths ; and it is well, for the hour of vengeance is at hand.' 

' I am mindful, and in all things I have worked for thee 
in secret — for thee, and for the utter ruin of Cleopatra and the 
Roman. I have fanned his passion and her jealousy, I have 
egged her on to wickedness and him to folly, and of all have I 
caused report to be brought to Caesar. Listen ! thus stands 
the matter. Thou knowest how went the fight at Actium. 
Thither went Cleopatra with her fleet, sorely against the will 
of Antony. But, as thou sentest me word, 1 entreated him 
for the Queen, vowing to him, with tears, that, did he leave 
her, she would die of grief; and he, poor slave, believed me. 
And so she went, and in the thick of the light, for what cause 
I know not, though perchance thou knowest, Harmachis, she 
made signal to her squadron, and, putting about lied from the 



CLEOPA TRA 279 

battle, sailing for Peloponnesus. And now, mark the end! 
When Antony saw that she was gone, he, in his madness, 
took a galley, and deserting all, followed hard after her, 
Leaving his fleet to be shattered and sunk, and his great 
army in Greece, of twenty legions and twelve thousand horse, 
without a leader. And all this no man would believe, that 
Antony, the smitten of the Gods, had fallen so deep in shame. 
Therefore for a while the army tarried, and but now to-night 
comes news brought by Canidius, the General, that, worn 
with doubt and being at length sure that Antony had deserted 
them, the whole of his great force has yielded to Caesar.' 
' And where, then, is Antony ? ' 

I He has built him a habitation on a little isle in the Great 
Harbour and named it Timonium ; because, forsooth, like 
Timon, he cries out at the ingratitude of mankind that has 
forsaken him. And there he lies smitten by a fever of the mind, 
and thither thou must go at dawn, so wills the Queen, to cure 
him of his ills and draw him to her arms ; for he will not see 
her, nor knows he yet the full measure of his woe. But first 
my bidding is to lead thee instantly to Cleopatra, who would 
ask thy counsel.' 

I I come,' I answered, rising. ' Lead thou on.' 

And so we passed the palace gates and along the Alabaster 
Hall, and presently once again I stood before the door of 
Cleopatra's chamber, and once again Charmion left me to 
warn her of my coming. 

Presently she came back and beckoned to me. ' Make 
strong thy heart,' she whispered, ' and see that thou dost 
not betray thyself, for still are the eyes of Cleopatra keen. 
Enter ! ' 

' Keen, indeed, must they be to find Harmachis in the 
learned Olympus ! Had I not willed it, thyself thou hadst 
not known me, Charmion,' I made answer. 



280 CLEOPA TRA 

Then I entered that remembered place and listened once 
more to the plash of the fountain, the song of the nightingale, 
and the murmur of the summer sea. With bowed head and 
halting gait I came, till at length I stood before the couch of 
Cleopatra — that same golden couch on which she had sat the 
night she overcame me. Then I gathered my strength, 
and looked up. There before me was Cleopatra, glorious as 
of old, but, oh ! how changed since that night when I saw 
Antony clasp her in his arms at Tarsus ! Her beauty still 
clothed her like a garment ; the eyes were yet deep and un- 
fathomable as the blue sea, the face still splendid in its great 
loveliness. And yet all was changed. Time, that could not 
touch her charms, had stamped upon her presence such a look 
of weary grief as may not be written. Passion, beating ever 
in that fierce heart of hers, had written his record on her brow, 
and in her eyes shone the sad lights of sorrow. 

I bowed low before this most royal woman, who once had 
been my love and my destruction, and yet knew me not. 

She looked up wearily, and spoke in her slow, well remem- 
bered voice : 

* So thou art come at length, Physician. How callest thou 
thyself? — Olympus ? 'Tis a name of promise, for surely now 
that the Gods of Egypt have deserted us, we do need aid from 
Olympus. Well, thou hast a learned air, for learning goes 
not with beauty. Strange, too, there is that about thee which 
recalls what I know not. Say, Olympus, have we met before ? ' 

1 Never, Queen, have my eyes fallen on thee in the body,' 
I answered hi a feigned voice. ' Never till this hour, when I 
come forth from my solitude to do thy bidding and cure thee 
of thy ills.' 

'Strange! and ev<;n in the voice — —Pshaw! 'tis some 
memory that I cannot catch. In tlio bod), thou sayest? then, 
perchance, J knew thee in a dream ? ' 




Before me was Cleopatra, but oh ! how changed 



CLEOPATRA 281 

4 Ay, Queen ; we have met in dreams.' 

' Thou art a strange man, who talkest thus, but, if what I 
hear be true, one well learned ; and, indeed, I mind me of 
thy counsel when thou didst bid me join my Lord Antony in 
Syria, and how things befell according to thy word. Skilled 
must thou be in the casting of nativities and in the law of 
auguries, of which these Alexandrian fools have little know- 
ledge. Once I knew such another man, one Harmachis,' and 
she sighed : ' but he is long dead — as I would I were also ! — 
and at times I sorrow for him.' 

She paused, while I sank my head upon my breast and 
stood silent. 

1 Interpret me this, Olympus. In the battle at that ac- 
cursed Actium, just as the fight raged thickest and Victory 
began to smile upon us, a great terror seized my heart, and 
thick darkness seemed to fall before my eyes, while in my ears 
a voice, ay, the voice of that long dead Harmachis, cried " Fly ! 
fly, or 'perish ! " and I fled. But from my heart the terror 
leapt to the heart of Antony, and he followed after me, and 
thus was the battle lost. Say, then, what God brought this 
evil thing about ? ' 

* Nay, Queen,' I answered, • it was no God — for wherein 
hast thou angered the Gods of Egypt ? Hast thou robbed the 
temples of their Faith ? Hast thou betrayed the trust of Egypt ? 
Having done none of these things, how, then, can the Gods of 
Egypt be wroth with thee ? Fear not, it was nothing but some 
natural vapour of the mind that overcame thy gentle soul, 
made sick with the sight and sound of slaughter ; and as for 
the noble Antony, where thou didst go needs must that he 
should follow.' 

And as I spoke, Cleopatra turned white and trembled, 
glancing at me the while to find my meaning. But I well 



282 



CLEOPA TRA 



knew that the thing was of the avenging Gods, working 
through me, their instrument. 

1 Learned Olympus,' she said, not answering my words ; 
1 my Lord Antony is sick and crazed with grief. Like some 
poor hunted slave he hides himself in yonder sea-girt Tower 
and shuns mankind— yes, he shuns even me, who, for his sake, 
endure so many woes. Now, this is my bidding to thee. To- 
morrow, at the coming of the light, do thou, led by Charmion, 
my waiting-lady, take boat and row thee to the Tower and 
there crave entry, saying that ye bring tidings from the army. 
Then he will cause you to be let in, and thou, Charmion, must 
break this heavy news that Canidius bears ; for Canidius him- 
self I dare not send. And when his grief is past, do thou, 
Olympus, soothe his fevered frame with thy draughts of value, 
and his soul with honeyed words, and draw him back to me, 
and all will yet be well. Do thou this, and thou shalt have 
gifts more than thou canst count, for I am yet a Queen and 
yet can pay back those who serve my will.' 

' Fear not, Queen,' I answered, ' this thing shall be done, 
and I ask no reward, who have come hither to do thy bidding 
to the end.' 

So I bowed and went and, summoning Atoua, made ready 
a certain potion. 



CLEOPATRA 



283 



CHAPTER V. 

OF THE DRAWING FORTH OF ANTONY FROM THE TIMONIUM 
BACK TO CLEOPATRA | OF THE FEAST MADE BY CLEO- 
PATRA ; AND OF THE MANNER OF THE DEATH OF EUDO- 
SIUS THE STEWARD. 



it was yet dawn Charmion came 

again, and we walked to the 

private harbour of the palace. 

There, taking boat, we rowed to the 

island mount on which stands the 

Timonium, a vaulted tower, strong, 

small, and round. And, having 

landed, we twain came to the door and 

knocked, till at length a grating was 

thrown open in the door, and an aged 

eunuch, looking forth, roughly asked our 

business. 

* Our business is with the Lord Antony,' said Charmion. 
' Then it is no business, for Antony, my master, sees 
neither man nor woman.' 

' Yet will he see us, for we bring tidings. Go tell him that 
the Lady Charmion brings tidings from the army.' 
The man went, and presently returned. 
1 The Lord Antony would know if the tidings be good or 
ill, for, if ill, then will he none of it, for with evil tidings he 
has been overfed of late.' 




284 CLEOPA TRA 

' Why — why, it is both good and ill. Open, slave, I will 
make answer to thy master ! ' and she slipped a purse of gold 
through the bars. 

' Well, well,' he grumbled, as he took the purse, 'the times 
are hard, and likely to be harder ; for when the lion's down 
who will feed the jackal ? Give thy news thyself, and if it 
do but draw the noble Antony out of this hall of Groans, I care 
not what it be. Now the palace door is open, and there's the 
road to the banqueting-chamber.' 

We passed on, to find ourselves in a narrow passage, and, 
leaving the eunuch to bar the door, advanced till we came to 
a curtain. Through this entrance we went, and found our- 
selves in a vaulted chamber, ill-lighted from the roof. On 
the further side of this rude chamber was a bed of rugs, and 
on them crouched the figure of a man, his face hidden in the 
folds of his toga. 

' Most noble Antony,' said Charmion drawing near, ' un- 
wrap thy face and hearken to me, for I bring thee tidings.' 

Then he lifted up his head. His face was marred by 
sorrow ; his tangled hair, grizzled with years, hung about his 
hollow eyes, and white on his chin was the stubble of an un- 
shaven beard. His robe was squalid, and his aspect more 
wretched than that of the poorest beggar at the temple gates. 
To this, then, had the love of Cleopatra brought the glorious 
and renowned Antony, aforetime Master of half the World ! 

'What will ye with me, Lady,' he asked, 'who would 
perish here alone ? And who is this man who comes to gaze 
on fallen and forsaken Antony ? ' 

'This is Olympus, noble Antony, that wise physician, the 
skilled in auguries, of whom thou hast heard much, and whom 
Cleopatra, ever mindful of thy welfare, though but little thou 
dost think of hers, has sent to minister to thee.' 

'And, can fchy physician minister to a grief such as my 




•cr 






o 



CLEOPATRA 285 

grief? Can his drugs give mo back my galleys, my honour, 
ami my peace ? Nay ! Away with thy physician ! What are 
thy tidings? quick! — out with it! Hath Canidius, per- 
chance, conquered Cffisar? Tell me but that, and thou shalt 
have a province for thy guerdon— ay ! and if Octavianus be 
dead, twenty thousand sestertia to fill its treasury. Speak- 
nay — speak not ! I fear the opening of thy lips as never I 
feared an earthly thing. Surely the wheel of fortune has 
gone round and Canidius has conquered ? Is it not so ? 
Nay — out with it ! I can no more ! ' 

' noble Antony,' she said, • steel thy heart to hear that 
which I needs must tell thee ! Canidius is in Alexandria. 
He has fled fast and far, and this is his report. For seven 
whole days did the legions wait the coming of Antony, to 
lead them to victory, as aforetime, putting aside the offers of 
the envoys of Caesar. But Antony came not. And then it was 
rumoured that Antony had fled to Taenarus, drawn thither by 
Cleopatra. The man who first brought that tale to the camp 
the legionaries cried shame on — ay, and beat him to the 
death ! But ever it grew, until at length there was no more 
room to doubt ; and then, Antony, thy officers slipped one 
by one away to Caesar, and where the officers go there the 
men follow. Nor is this all the story ; for thy allies — Bocchus 
of Africa, Tarcondimotus of Cilicia, Mithridates of Comma- 
gene, Adallas of Thrace, Philadelphus of Paphlagonia, Arche- 
laus of Cappadocia, Herod of Judaea, Amyntas of Galatia, 
Polemon of Pontus, and Malchus of Arabia — all, all have fled 
or bid their generals fly back to whence they came ; and 
already their ambassadors crave cold Caesar's clemency.' 

' Hast done thy croaking, thou raven in a peacock's dress, 
or is there more to come ? ' asked the smitten man, lifting his 
white and trembling face from the shelter of his hands. ■ Tell 
me more ; say that Egypt's dead in all her beauty ; say that 



2S6 CLEOPA TRA 

Octavianus lowers at the Canopic gate ; and that, headed by 
dead Cicero, all the ghosts of Hell do audibly shriek out the 
fall of Antony ! Yea, gather up every woe that can o'erwhelm 
those who once were great, and loose them on the hoary head 
of him whom — in thy gentleness — thou art still pleased to 
name " the noble Antony " ! ' 

' Nay, my Lord, I have done.' 

* Ay, and so have I done — done, quite done ! It is alto- 
gether finished, and thus I seal the end,' and snatching a 
sword from the couch, he would, indeed, have slain himself 
had I not sprung forward and grasped his hand. For it was 
not my purpose that he should die as yet ; since had he died 
at that hour Cleopatra had made her peace with Caesar, who 
rather wished the death of Antony than the ruin of Egypt. 

' Art mad, Antony ? Art, indeed, a coward ? ' cried 
Charmion, ' that thou wouldst thus escape thy woes, and 
leave thy partner to face the sorrow out alone ? ' 

1 Why not, woman ? Why not ? She would not be long 
alone. There's Caesar to keep her company. Octavianus 
loves a fair woman in his cold way, and still is Cleopatra 
fair. Come now, thou Olympus ! thou hast held my hand 
from dealing death upon myself, advise me of thy wisdom. 
Shall I, then, submit myself to Cnesar, and, I, Triumvir, twice 
Consul, and aforetime absolute Monarch of all the East, 
endure to follow in his triumph along those Roman ways 
where I myself have passed in triumph ? ' 

' Nay, Sire,' I answered. ' If thou dost yield, then art 
thou doomed. All last night I questioned of the Fates con- 
cerning thee, and I saw this: when thy star draws near to 

lar's it pales and is swallowed up ; but when it passes from 
his radiance, then bright and big it shines, equal in glory to 
his own. All is not lost, and while some part remains, ever} 
thing may be regained. Egypt can yet be held, armies can 



CLEOPATRA 287 

Btill be raised. Cesar has withdrawn himself ; he is not yel 
hi the gates o\' Alexandria, and perchance may be appeased. 

Thy mind in its fever has fired thy body; thou art sick and 
canst not judge aright. See, here, I have a potion that shall 
make thee whole, for 1 am well skilled in the art of medicine,' 
and I held out the phial. 

' A potion, thou sayest man ! ' he cried. ' More like it is a 
poison, and thou a murderer, sent by false Egypt, who would 
fain he rid of me now that I may no more be of service to her. 
The head of Antony is the peace offering she would send to 
Caesar — she for whom I have lost all ! Give me thy draught. 
By Bacchus ! I will drink it, though it be the very elixir of 
Death ! ' 

1 Nay, noble Antony ; it is no poison, and I am no mur- 
derer. See, I will taste it, if thou wilt,' and I held forth the 
subtle drink that has power to fire the veins of men. 

1 Give it me, Physician. Desperate men are brave men. 

There ! Why, what is this ? Yours is a magic draught ! 

My sorrows seem to roll away like thunder-clouds before the 
southern gale, and the spring of Hope blooms fresh upon the 
desert of my heart. Once more I am Antony, and once again 
I see my legions' spears asparkle in the sun, and hear the 
thunderous shout of welcome as Antony — beloved Antony — 
rides in pomp of war along his deep-formed lines ! There's 
hope ! there's hope ! I may yet see the cold brows of Caesar — 
that Caesar who never errs except from policy — robbed of their 
victor bays and crowned with shameful dust ! ' 

'Ay,' cried Charmion, 'there still is hope, if thou wilt 
but play the man ! my Lord ! come back with us ; come 
back to the loving arms of Cleopatra ! All night she lies upon 
her golden bed, and fills the hollow darkness with her groans 
for " Antony ! " who, enamoured now of Grief, forgets his duty 
and his love ! ' 



288 CLEOPA TRA 

' I come ! I come ! Shame upon me, that I dared to doubt 
her ! Slave, bring water, and a purple robe : not thus can I 
be seen of Cleopatra. Even now I come.' 

In this fashion, then, did we draw Antony back to Cleo- 
patra, that the ruin of the twain might be made sure. 

We led him up the Alabaster Hall and into Cleopatra's 
chamber, where she lay, her cloudy hair about her face and 
breast, and tears flowing from her deep eyes. 

' Egypt ! ' he cried, ' behold me at thy feet ! ' 

She sprang from the couch. ' And art thou here, my love ? ' 
she murmured ; ' then once again are all things well. Come 
near, and in these arms forget thy sorrows and turn my grief 
to joy. Oh, Antony, while love is left to us, still have we all ! ' 

And she fell upon his breast and kissed him wildly. 

That same day, Charmion came to me and bade me pre- 
pare a poison of the most deadly power. And this at first I 
would not do, fearing that Cleopatra would therewith make an 
end of Antony before the time. But Charmion showed me 
that this was not so, and told me also for what purpose 
was the poison. Therefore I summoned Atoua, the skilled in 
simples, and all that afternoon we laboured at the deadly 
work. And when it was done, Charmion came once more, 
bearing with her a chaplet of fresh roses, that she bade me 
steep in the poison. 

This then I did. 

That night at the great feast of Cleopatra, I sat near 
Antony, who was at her side, and wore the poisoned wreath. 
Now as the feast went on, the wine flowed fast, till Antony 
and the Queen grew merry. And she told him of her plans, 
and of howeveri now her galleys were being drawn by t)io 






CLEOPATRA 

(.anal that loads from Bubastis on the Pelusiac branch of the 
Nile, to Clysma at the head of the Bay of Heroopolis. For it 

was her design, should C&sar prove stubborn, to ily with 
Antony and her treasure down the Arabian Gulf, where Caesar 
had no fleet, and seek some new home in India, whither her 
foes might not follow. But, indeed, this plan came to nothing, 
for the Arabs of Petra burnt the galleys, incited thereto by a 
message sent by the Jews of Alexandria, who hated Cleopatra 
and were hated of her. For I caused the Jews to be warned 
of what was being done. 

Now, when she had made an end of telling him, the Queen 
called on him to drink a cup with her, to the success of this new 
scheme, bidding him, as she did so, steep his wreath of roses in 
the wine, and make the draught more sweet. This, then, he 
did, and, it being done, she pledged him. But when he was 
about to pledge her back, she caught his hand, crying ' Hold ! ' 
whereat he paused, wondering. 

Now, among the servants of Cleopatra was one Eudosius, a 
steward ; and this Eudosius, seeing that the fortunes of 
Cleopatra were at an end, had laid a plan to fly that very 
night to Caesar, as many of his betters had done, taking with 
him all the treasure in the palace that he could steal. But 
this design being discovered to Cleopatra, she determined 
to be avenged upon Eudosius. 

' Eudosius,' she cried, for the man stood near ; ' come 
hither, thou faithful servant ! Seest thou this man, most 
noble Antony ; through all our troubles he has clung to us 
and been of comfort to us. Now, therefore, he shall be 
rewarded according to his deserts and the measure of his 
faithfulness, and that from thine own hand. Give him thy 
golden cup of wine, and let him drink a pledge to our success ; 
the cup shall bo his guerdon.' 

And still wondering. Antony gave it to the man, who, 

u 



2Qo CLEOPA TRA 

stricken in his guilty mind, took it, and stood trembling. But 
he drank not. 

1 Drink ! thou slave ; drink ! ' cried Cleopatra, half rising 
from her seat and flashing a fierce look on his white face. ' By 
Serapis ! so surely as I yet shall sit in the Capitol at. Rome, 
if thou dost thus flout the Lord Antony, I'll have thee 
scourged to the bones, and the red wine poured upon thy open 
wounds to heal them ! Ah ! at length thou drinkest ! Why, 
what is it, good Eudosius ? art sick ? Surely, then, this wine 
must be as the water of jealousy of those Jews, that has 
power to slay the false and strengthen the honest only. Go, 
some of you, search this man's room ; methinks he is a 
traitor ! ' 

Meanwhile the man stood, his hands to his head. Presently 
he began to tremble, and then fell, shrieking, to the ground. 
Anon he was on his feet again, clutching at his bosom, as 
though to tear out the fire in his heart. He staggered, with 
livid, twisted face and foaming lips, to where Cleopatra lay 
watching him with a slow and cruel smile, 

' Ah, traitor ! thou hast it now ! ' she said. ' Prithee, is 
death sweet ? ' 

' Thou wanton ! ' yelled the dying man, ' thou hast poisoned 
me ! Thus mayst thou also perish ! ' and with one shriek 
lie Hung himself upon her. She saw his purpose, and swift 
and supple as a tiger sprang to one side, so that he did but 
grasp her royal cloak, tearing it from its emerald clasp. Down 
he fell upon the ground, rolling over and over in the purple 
chiton, till presently he lay still and dead, his tormented face 
and frozen eyes peering ghastly from its folds. 

' Ah ! ' said the Queen, with a hard laugh, • the Blave died 
wondrous hard, and fain would have drawn me with him. 
]i<: has borrowed my garment fur a pall ! Take him 
.1 id bury him in his livery.' 



< LEOPATRA 2<)i 

* What means Cleopatra ? ' said Antony, as the guards 
dragged the corpse away ; ' the man drank of my cup. What 
is the purpose of this moBt sorry jest ? ' 

1 Jt serves a double end, noble Antony ! This very night 
that man would have fled to Octavianus, bearing of our 
treasure with him. Well, I have lent him wings, for the dead 
fly last ! Also this : thou didst fear that I should poison thee, 
my Lord ; nay, 1 know it. bee now, Antony, how easy it were 
that I should slay thee if 1 had the will. That wreath of roses 
which thou didst steep within the cup is dewed with deadly 
bane. Had I, then, a mind to make an end of thee, I had not 
stayed thy hand. Antony, henceforth trust me ! Sooner 
would I slay myself than harm one hair of thy beloved head ! 
See, here come my messengers! Speak, what did ye find ?' 

1 Royal Egypt, we found this. All things in the chamber 
of Eudosius are made ready for flight, and in his baggage is 
much treasure.' 

1 Thou nearest ? ' she said, smiling darkly. ' Think ye, 
my loyal servants all, that Cleopatra is one with whom it is 
well to play the traitor ? Be warned by this Roman's fate ! ' 

Then a great silence of fear fell upon the company, and 
Antony sat also silent. 



u 2 



2[)2 



CLEOPATRA 



CHAPTER VI. 

Or THE WORKINGS OF THE LEARNED OLYMPUS AT MEMPHIS; 
OF THE POISONINGS OF CLEOPATRA ; OF THE SPEECH OF 
ANTONY TO HIS CAPTAINS ; AND OF THE PASSING OF 
ISIS FROM THE LAND OF KHEM. 



I, Harmachis, must make speed with 
my task, setting down that which 
is permitted as shortly as may be, 
and leaving much untold. For of 
this I am warned, that Doom 
draws on and my days are wellnigh 
sped. After the drawing forth of 
Antony from the Timonium came that 
time of heavy quiet which heralds the 
rising of the desert wind. Antony and 
Cleopatra once again gave themselves up 
to luxury, and night by night feasted in 
splendour at the palace. They sent ambassadors to Cffisar ; 
but Caesar would have none of them ; and, this hope being 
gone, they turned their minds to the defence of Alexandria. 
Men were gathered, ships were built, and a great force was 
made ready against the coming of Ca 

And now, aided by Charmion, 1 began my last work of hate 
and vengeance. I wormed myself deep into (lie secrets of the 
palace, counselling all things for evil. 1 bade Cleopatra keep 




CLEOPATRA 293 

Antony gay, lost ho should brood upon his sorrows : and thus 
she Bapped his Btrength and energy with luxury and wine. I 
gave him of my draughts — draughts that sank his soul in 
dreams of happiness and power, leaving him to wake to a 
heavier misery. Soon, without my healing medicine he could 
not sleep, and thus, being ever at his side, I bound his 
weakened will to mine, till at last he would do little if I said 
not ' It is well.' Cleopatra, also grown very superstitious, 
leaned much upon me ; for I prophesied falsely to her in secret. 
Moreover, I wove other webs. My fame was great through- 
out Egypt, for during the long years that I had dwelt 
in Tape it had spread through all the land. Therefore many 
men of note came to me, both for their health's sake and 
because it was known that I had the ear of Antony and the 
Queen ; and, in these days of doubt and trouble, they were 
fain to learn the truth. All these men I worked upon with 
doubtful words, sapping their loyalty ; and I caused many to 
fall away, and yet none could bear an evil report of what I 
had said. Also, Cleopatra sent me to Memphis, there to 
move the Priests and Governors that they should gather men 
in Upper Egypt for the defence of Alexandria. And I went 
and spoke to the priests with such a double meaning and 
with so much wisdom that they knew me to be one of the 
initiated in the deeper mysteries. But how I, Olympus the 
physician, came thus to be initiated none might say. And 
afterwards they sought me secretly, and I gave them the holy 
sign of brotherhood ; and thereunder bade them not to ask 
who I might be, but send no aid to Cleopatra. Rather, I 
said, must they make peace with Caesar, for by Caesar's grace 
only could the worship of the Gods endure in Khem. So, 
having taken counsel of the Holy Apis, they promised in 
public to give help to Cleopatra, but in secret sent an embassy 
to Caesar. 



294 CLEOPATRA 

Thus, then, it came to pass that Egypt gave but little aid to 
its hated Macedonian Queen. Thence from Memphis I came 
once more to Alexandria, and, having made favourable report, 
continued my secret work. And, indeed, the Alexandrians 
could not easily be stirred, for, as they say in the market- 
place, ' The ass looks at its burden and is blind to its 
master.' Cleopatra had oppressed them so long that the 
Roman was like a welcome friend. 

Thus the time passed on, and every night found Cleopatra 
with fewer friends than thai which had gone before, for in 
evil days friends fly like swallows before the frost. Yet she 
would not give uo Antony, whom she loved ; though to my 
knowledge Caesar, by his freedman, Thyreus, made promise to 
her of her dominions for herself and for her children if she 
would but slay Antony, or even betray him bound. But to 
this her woman's heart — for still she had a heart — would not 
consent, and, moreover, we counselled her against it, for of 
necessity we must hold him to her, lest, Antony escaping or 
being slain, Cleopatra might ride out the storm and yet be 
Queen of Egypt. And this grieved me, because Antony, 
though weak, was still a brave man, and a great ; and, more- 
over, in my own heart I read the lesson of his woes. For 
were we not akin in wretchedness ? Had not the same 
woman robbed us of Empire, Friends, and Honour ? But 
pity has no place in politics, nor could it turn my feet from 
the path of vengeance it was ordained that I should tread. 
Caesar drew nigh ; Pelusium fell ; the end was at hand. 
It was Charmion who brought the tidings to the Queen and 
Antony, as they slept in the heat of the day, and I came 
with her. 

'Awake!' she cried. 'Awake! This is no time for 
sleep ! Seleucus hath surrendered Pelusium to Caesar, who 
marches straight on Alexandria ! ' 



CLEOPATRA 395 

With a great oath, Antony sprang up and clutched Cleo- 
patra by ilif arm. 

4 Thou hast betrayed mo— by the Gods I swear it! Now 
thou shall pay the price! ' And snatching up his sword he 
drew it. 

'Stay thy hand, Antony!' she cried. 'It is false— I 
know naught of this ! ' And she sprang upon him, and clung 
about his neck, weeping. ' I know naught, my Lord. Take 
thou the wife of Seleucus and his little children, whom I hold 
in guard, and avenge thyself. Antony, Antony ! why dost 
thou doubt me ? ' 

Then Antony threw down his sword upon the marble, and, 
casting himself upon the couch, hid his face, and groaned in 
bitterness of spirit. 

But Charmion smiled, for it was she who had sent secretly 
to Seleucus, her friend, counselling him to surrender forth- 
with, saying that no fight would be made at Alexandria. And 
that very night Cleopatra took all her great store of pearls 
and emeralds — those that remained of the treasure of 
Menkau-ra — all her wealth of gold, ebony, ivory, and cinna- 
mon, treasure without price, and placed it in the mausoleum 
of granite which, after our Egyptian fashion, she had built 
upon the hill that is by the Temple of the Holy Isis. These 
riches she piled up upon a bed of flax, that, when she fired it, 
all might perish in the flame and escape the greed of money- 
loving Octavianus. And she slept henceforth in this tomb, 
away from Antony ; but in the daytime she still saw him at 
the palace. 

r.ut a little while after, when Caesar with all his great 
force had already crossed the Canopic mouth of the Nile and 
was hard on Alexandria, I came to the palace, whither Cleo- 
patra had summoned me. There I found her in the Alabaster 
Hall, royally clad, a wild light in her eyes, and, with her, Iras 



296 CLEOPA TRA 

and Charmion, and before her guards ; and stretched here 
and there upon the marble, bodies of dead men, among whom 
lay one yet dying. 

1 Greeting, thou Olympus ! ' she cried. ' Here is a sight 
to glad a physician's heart — men dead and men sick unto 
death ! ' 

' What doest thou, Queen ? ' I said affrighted. 

• What do I ? I wreak justice on these criminals and 
traitors ; and, Olympus, I learn the ways of death. I have 
caused six different poisons to be given to these slaves, and with 
an attentive eye have watched their working. That man,' 
and she pointed to a Nubian, ' he went mad, and raved of his 
native deserts and his mother. He thought himself a child 
again, poor fool ! and bade her hold him close to her breast 
and save him from the darkness which drew near. And that 
Greek, he shrieked and, shrieking, died. And this, he wept 
and prayed for pity, and in the end, like a coward, breathed 
his last. Now, note the Egyptian yonder, he who still lives 
and groans ; first he took the draught — the deadliest draught 
of all, they swore — and yet the slave so c.early loves his life 
he will not leave it ! See, he yet strives to throw the poison 
from him ; twice have I given him the cup and yet he is 
athirst. What a drunkard have we here ! Man, man, 
knowest thou not that in death only can peace be found? 
Struggle no more, but enter into rest.' And even as she 
spoke, the man, with a great cry, gave up the spirit. 

• There ! ' she cried, ' at length the farce is played— away 
with those slaves whom I have forced through the difficult 
gates of Joy ! ' and she clapped her hands. But when they 
had borne the bodies thence she drew me to her, and spoke 
tli us : 

' Olympus, for all thy prophecies, the end is at hand. 
&r must conquer, and I and my Lord Antony be lost. 



CLEOPATRA 297 

Now. therefore, the play being wellnigh done, I must make 

dy to leave this atage of earth in such fashion as becomes 
a Queen. For this cause, then, I do make trial of these poisons, 
seeing that in my person I must soon endure those agonies of 
death that to-day I give to others. These drugs please me 
not ; some wrench out the soul with cruel pains, and some too 
slowly work their end. But thou art skilled in the medicines 
of death. Now, do thou prepare me such a draught as shall, 
pangless, steal my life away.' 

And as I listened the sense of triumph filled my bitter 
heart, for I knew now that by my own hand should this 
ruined woman die and the justice of the Gods be done. 

' Spoken like a Queen, Cleopatra ! ' I said. ' Death shall 
cure thy ills, and I will brew such a wine as shall draw him 
down a sudden friend and sink thee in a sea of slumber 
whence, upon this earth, thou shalt never wake again. Oh ! 
fear not Death : Death is thy hope ; and, surely, thou shalt 
pass sinless and pure of heart into the dreadful presence of 
the Gods ! ' 

She trembled. ' And if the heart be not altogether pure, 
tell me — thou dark man — what then ? Nay, I fear not the 
Gods ! for if the Gods of Hell be men, there I shall Queen it 
also. At the least, having once been royal, royal I shall 
ever be.' 

And, as she spoke, suddenly from the palace gates came a 
great clamour, and the noise of joyful shouting. 

' Why, what is this ? ' she said, springing from her couch. 

1 Antony ! Antony ! ' rose the cry ; ' Antony hath con- 
quered ! ' 

She turned swiftly and ran, her long hair streaming on 
the wind. I followed her, more slowly, down the great 
hall, across the courtyards, to the palace gates. And here 
she met Antony, riding through them, radiant with smiles 



298 CLEOPA TEA 

and clad in his Eoman armour. When he saw her he leapt 
to the ground, and, all armed as he was, clasped her to his 
breast. 

1 What is it ? ' she cried ; ' is Caesar fallen ? ' 

1 Nay, not altogether fallen, Egypt : but we have beat his 
horsemen back to their trenches, and, like the beginning, so 
shall be the end, for, as they say here, " Where the head goes, 
the tail will follow." Moreover, Caesar has my challenge, and 
if he will but meet me hand to hand, the world shall soon see 
which is the better man, Antony or Octavian.' And even as 
he spoke and the people cheered there came the cry of ' A 
messenger from Caesar ! ' 

The herald entered, and, bowing low, gave a writing to 
Antony, bowed again, and went. Cleopatra snatched it from 
his hand, broke the silk and read aloud : 

' Caesar to Antony, greeting. 

' This answer to thy challenge : Can Antony find no 
better way of death than beneath the sword of Caesar ? Fare- 
well ! ' 

And thereafter they cheered no more. 

The darkness came, and before it was midnight, having 
feasted with those friends who to-night wept over his woes 
and to-morrow should betray him, Antony went forth to the 
gathering of the captains of the land-forces and of the fleet, 
attended by many, among whom was I. 

When all were come together, he spoke to them, standing 
bareheaded in their midst, beneath the radiance of the moon. 
And thus he most nobly spoke : 

' Friends and companions in anus! who yet cling to me, 
and whom many a time T have led to victory, hearken to mfl 
now, who to-morrow may lie in the dumb dust, disempired 
and dishonoured: This is our design : no longer will we 



CLEOPATRA 299 

hang on poised wings above the flood of war, but will 
straightway plunge, perchance thence to snatch the victor's 
diadem, or, failing, there to drown. Be now but true to me, 
and to your honour's sake, and you may still sit, the most 
proud of men, at my right hand in the Capitol of Rome. 
Fail me now, and the cause of Antony is lost and lost are ye. 
To-morrow's battle must be hazardous indeed, but we have 
stood many a time and faced a fiercer peril, and ere the sun 
had sunk, once more have driven armies like desert sands be- 
fore our gale of valour and counted the spoil of hostile kings. 
"What have we to fear ? Though allies be fled, still is our 
array as strong as Caesar's ! And show we but as high a 
heart, why, I swear to you, upon my princely word, to-morrow 
night I shall deck yonder Canopic gate with the heads of 
Octavian and his captains ! 

'Ay, cheer, and cheer again ! I love that martial music 
which swells, not as from the indifferent lips of clarions, now 
'neath the breath of Antony and now of Caesar, but rather 
out of the single hearts of men who love me. Yet — and now I 
will speak low, as we do speak o'er the bier of some beloved 
dead — yet, if Fortune should rise against me and if, borne 
down by the weight of arms, Antony, the soldier, dies a 
soldier's death, leaving you to mourn him who ever was 
your friend, this is my will, that, after our rough fashion 
of the camp, I here declare to you. You know where all my 
treasure lies. Take it, most dear friends ; and, in the memory 
of Antony, make just division. Then go to Caesar and speak 
thus : " Antony, the dead, to Caesar, the living, sends greeting ; 
and, in the name of ancient fellowship and of many a peril 
dared, craves this boon : the safety of those who clung to him 
and that which he hath given them." 

1 Nay, let not my tears — for I must weep — overflow your 
eyes ! Why, it is not manly ; 'tis most womanish ! All men 



3 oo CLEOPATRA 

must die, and death were welcome were it not so lone. Should 
I fall, I leave my children to your tender care — if, perchance, 
it may avail to save them from the fate of helplessness. 
Soldiers, enough ! to-morrow at the dawn we spring on Caesar's 
throat, both by land and sea. Swear that ye will cling to me, 
even to the last issue ! ' 

1 We swear ! ' they cried. ' Noble Antony, we swear ! ' 

' It is well ! Once more my star glows bright ; to-morrow, 
set in the highest heaven, it yet may shine the lamp of Caesar 
down ! Till then, farewell ! ' 

He turned to go. As he went they caught his hand and 
kissed it ; and so deeply were they moved that many wept like 
children ; nor could Antony master his grief, for, in the 
moonlight, I saw tears roll down his furrowed cheeks and fall 
upon that mighty breast. 

And, seeing all this, I was much troubled. For I well 
knew that if these men held firm to Antony all might yet go 
well for Cleopatra; and though I bore no ill-will against 
Antony, yet he must fall, and in that fall drag down the 
woman who, like some poisonous plant, had twined herself 
about his giant strength till it choked and mouldered in her 
embrace. 

Therefore, when Antony went I went not, but stood back 
in the shadow watching the faces of the lords and captains 
as they spoke together. 

' Then it is agreed ! ' said he who should lead the fleet. 
* And this we swear to, one and all, that we will cling to 
noble Antony to the last extremity of fortune ! ' 

* Ay ! ay ! ' they answered. 

* Ay ! ay ! ' I said, speaking from the shadow ; ' cling, 
mid die ! ' 

They turned fiercely and seized me. 
1 Who is he? ' quoth one. 






CLEOPA i 

1 'Tis that dark-faced dog, Olympus!' cried another. 
• Olympus, the magician ! ' 

4 Olympus, the traitor ! ' growled another ; ' put an end to 
him and his magic ! ' and he drew his sword. 

' Ay ! slay him ; he would betray the Lord Antony, whom 
he is paid to doctor.' 

1 Hold a while ! ' 1 said in a slow and solemn voice, ' and 
beware how ye try to murder the servant of the Gods. I am 
no traitor. For myself, I abide the event here in Alexandria, 
but to you I say, Flee, flee to Caesar ! I serve Antony and the 
Queen — I serve them truly ; but above all I serve the Holy 
Gods ; and what they make known to me, that, Lords, I do 
know. And I know this : that Antony is doomed, and Cleo- 
patra is doomed, for Caesar conquers. Therefore, because I 
honour you, noble gentlemen, and think with pity on your 
wives, left widowed, and your little fatherless children, that 
shall, if ye hold to Antony, be sold as slaves— therefore, I say, 
cling to Antony if ye will and die ; or flee to Caesar and be 
saved ! And this I say because it is so ordained of the Gods.' 

'The Gods!' they growled; 'what Gods? Slit the 
traitor's throat, and stop his ill-omened talk ! ' 

' Let him show us a sign from his Gods or let him die : 
I do mistrust this man,' said another. 

1 Stand back, ye fools ! ' I cried. ' Stand back — free mine 
arms— and I will show you a sign ; ' and there was that in 
my face which frighted them, for they freed me and stood 
back. Then I lifted up my hands and putting out all my 
strength of soul searched the depths of space till my Spirit 
communed with the Spirit of my Mother Isis. Only the Word 
of Power I uttered not, as I had been bidden. And the holy 
mystery of the Goddess answered to my Spirit's cry, falling 
in awful silence upon the face of earth. Deeper and deeper 
grew the terrible silence ; even the dogs ceased to howl, and 



3 o2 CLEOPATRA 

in the city men stood still afeared. Then, from far away, 
there came the ghostly music of the sistra. Faint it was at 
first, but ever as it came it grew more loud, till the air shivered 
with the unearthly sound of terror. I said naught, but pointed 
with my hand toward the sky. And behold ! bosomed upon 
the air, floated a vast veiled Shape that, heralded by the swell- 
ing music of the sistra, drew slowly near, till its shadow lay 
upon us. It came, it passed, it went toward the camp of 
CaBSar, till at length the music died away, and the awful 
Shape was swallowed in the night. 

' It is Bacchus ! ' cried one. ' Bacchus, who leaves lost 
x\ntony ! ' and, as he spoke, there rose a groan of terror from 
all the camp. 

But I knew that it was not Bacchus, the false God, but the 
Divine Isis who deserted Klieni, and, passing over the edge of 
the world, sought her home in space, to be no more known of 
men. For though her worship is still upheld, though still 
she is here and in all Earths, Isis manifests herself no more 
in Egypt. I hid my face and prayed, but when I lifted it 
from my robe, lo ! all had fled and I was alone. 



CLEOPATRA 



303 



CHAPTEB Vll. 

OF THE SUBBENDEB OF THE TBOOPS AND FLEET OF ANTONY 
BEFORE THE CANOPIG GATE | OF THE END OF ANTONY, 
AND OF THE BKEWTNG OF THE DBAUGUT OF DEATH. 



the morrow, at dawn, Antony came 
forth and gave command that his 
fleet should advance against the 
fleet of Caesar, and that his 
cavalry should open the land- 
battle with the cavalry of Cassar. 
Accordingly, the fleet advanced 
in a triple line, and the fleet of 
Caesar came out to meet it. But 
when they met, the galleys of Antony 
lifted their oars in greeting, and passed 
over to the galleys of Cassar ; and they 
sailed away together. And the cavalry 
of Antony rode forth beyond the Hippodrome to charge the 
cavalry of Csesar; but when they met, they lowered their 
swords and passed over to the camp of Caasar, deserting 
Antony. Then Antony grew mad with rage and terrible to 
see. He shouted to his legions to stand firm and await 
attack ; and for a little while they stood. One man, how- 
ever — that same officer who would have slain me on the 
yesternight — strove to fly ; but Antony seized him with his 




jo4 CLEUPA TRA 

own hand, threw him to the earth, and, springing from his 
horse, drew his sword to slay him. He held his sword on 
high, while the man, covering his face, awaited death. But 
Antony dropped his sword and bade him rise. 

' Go ! ' he said. ' Go to Caesar, and prosper ! I did love 
thee once. Why, then, among so many traitors, should I 
single thee out for death ? ' 

The man rose and looked upon him sorrowfully. Then, 
shame overwhelm mg him, with a great cry he tore open his 
shirt of mail, plunged his sword into his own heart and fell 
down dead. Antony stood and gazed at him, but he said 
never a word. Meanwhile the ranks of Caesar's legions drew 
near, and so soon as they crossed spears the legions of Antony 
turned and fled. Then the soldiers of Cassar stood still mock- 
ing them ; but scarce a man was slain, for they pursued not. 

' Fly, Lord Antony ! fly ! ' cried Eros, his servant, who 
alone with me stayed by him. ' Fly ere thou art dragged a 
prisoner to Cassar ! ' 

So he turned and fled, groaning heavily. I went with 
him, and as we rode through the Canopic gate, where many 
folk stood wondering, Antony spoke to me : 

* Go, thou, Olympus ; go to the Queen and say : " Antony 
sends greeting to Cleopatra, who hath betrayed him ! To 
Cleopatra he sends greeting and farewell ! " ' 
! And so I went to the tomb, but Antony fled on to the 
palace. When I came to the tomb I knocked upon the door, 
and Charmion looked forth from the window. 

1 Open,' I cried, and she opened. 

4 What news, Harmachis ? ' she whispered. 

4 Charmion,' I said, ' the end is at hand. AnLony if; fled ! 

4 It is well,' she answered ; 'lam aweary.' 

And there on her golden bed sat Cleupalra. 

' Speak, man ! ' she cried. 



CLEOPA //:. / :ps 

' Antony has fled, his forces are fled, Ceesar draws near. 
To Cleopatra the great Antony sends greeting and farewell. 
Greeting to Cleopatra who hath betrayed him, and Care well.' 

' It is a lie ! ' she screamed ; ' I betrayed him not ! Thou, 
Olympus, go swiftly to Antony and answer thus : " To Antony, 
Cleopatra, who hath not betrayed him, sends greeting and 
farewell. Cleopatra is no more." ' 

And bo T went, following out my purpose. In the Alabaster 
Hall I found Antony pacing to and fro, tossing his hands 
toward the heaven, and with him Eros, for of all his servants 
Eros alone remained by this fallen man. 

1 Lord Antony,' I said, ' Egypt bids thee farewell. Egypt 
is dead by her own hand.' 

1 Dead ! dead ! ' he whispered, ' and is Egypt dead ? and 
is that form of glory now food for worms ? Oh, what a 
woman was this ! E'en now my heart goes out towards her. 
And shall she outdo me at the last, I w T ho have been so great; 
shall I become so small that a woman can overtop my courage 
and pass where I fear to follow ? Eros, thou hast loved me 
from a boy — mindest thou how I found thee starving in the 
desert, and made thee rich, giving thee place and wealth ? 
Come, now r , pay me back. Draw that sword thou wearest 
and make an end of the woes of Antony.' 

1 Oh, Sire,' cried the Greek, ' I cannot ! How can I take 
away the life of godlike Antony ? ' 

' Answer me not, Eros ; but in the last extreme of fate 
this I charge thee. Do thou my bidding, or begone and leave 
me quite alone ! No more will I see thy face, thou unfaithful 
servant ! ' 

Then Eros drew his sword and Antony knelt down before 
him and bared his breast, turning his eyes to heaven. But 
Eros, crying ' I cannot ! oh, I cannot ! ' plunged the sword 
to his own heart, and fell dead. 



306 



C LEO PA TRA 



Antony rose and gazed upon him. ' Why, Eros, that was 
nobly done,' he said. ' Thou art greater than I, yet I have 
learned thy lesson ! ' and he knelt down and kissed him. 

Then, rising of a sudden, he drew the sword from the heart 
of Eros, plunged it into his bowels, and fell, groaning, on the 
couch. 

* thou, Olympus,' he cried, ' this pain is more than lean 
bear ! Make an end of me, Olympus ! ' 

But pity stirred me, and I could not do this thing. 

Therefore I drew the sword from his vitals, staunched 
the flow of blood, and, calling to those who came crowding in 
to see Antony die, I bade them summon Atoua from my 
house at the palace gates. Presently she came, bringing with 
her simples and life-giving draughts. These I gave to Antony, 
and bade Atoua go with such speed as her old limbs might to 
Cleopatra, in the tomb, and tell her of the state of Antony. 

So she went, and after a while returned, saying that the 
Queen yet lived and summoned Antony to die in her arms. 
And with her came Diomedes. When Antony heard, his 
ebbing strength came back, for he was fain to look upon 
Cleopatra's face again. So I called to the slaves — who peeped 
and peered through curtains and from behind pillars to see 
this great man die — and together, with much toil, we bore 
him thence till we came to the foot of the Mausoleum. 

But Cleopatra, being afraid of treachery, would no more 
throw wide the door ; so she let down a rope from the win- 
dow and we made it fast beneath the arms of Antony. Then 
did Cleopatra, who the while wept most bitterly, together with 
Charmion and Iras the Greek, pull on the rope with all their 
strength, while we lifted from below till the dying Antony 
swung in the air, groaning heavily, and the blood dropped 
from his gaping wound. Twice he nearly fell to earth : but 
Cleopatra, striving with the strength of love and of despair, 



CLEOPATRA 307 

held him till at length she drew him through the window- 
place, while all who saw the dreadful sight wept bitterly, and 
beat their breasts— all save myself and Charmion. 

When he was in, once more the rope was let down, and, 
with some aid from Charmion, I climbed into the tomb, draw- 
ing up the rope after me. There I found Antony, laid upon 
the golden bed of Cleopatra ; and she, her breast bare, her 
face stained with tears, and her hair streaming wildly about 
him, knelt at his side and kissed him, wiping the blood from 
his wounds with her robes and hair. And let all my shame 
be written : as I stood and watched her the old love awoke 
once more within me, and mad jealousy raged in my heart 
because — though I could destroy these twain — I could not 
destroy their love. 

' Antony ! my Sweet, my Husband, and my God ! ' she 
moaned. ' Cruel Antony, hast thou the heart to die and leave 
me to my lonely shame ? I will follow thee swiftly to the 
grave. Antony, awake ! awake ! ' 

He lifted up his head and called for w T ine, which I gave 
him, mixing therein a draught that might allay his pain, for 
it was great. And when he had drunk he bade Cleopatra lie 
down on the bed beside him, and put her arms about him ; 
and this she did. Then was Antony once more a man ; for, 
forgetting his own misery and pain, he counselled her as to 
her own safety : but to this talk she would not listen. 

1 The hour is short,' she said; ' let us speak of this great 
love of ours that hath been so long and may yet endure 
beyond the coasts of Death. Mindest thou that night when 
first thou didst put thine arms about me and call me " Love " ? 
Oh ! happy, happy night ! Having known that night it is 
well to have lived — even to this bitter end ! ' 

' Ay, Egypt, I mind it well and dwell upon its memory, 
though from that hour fortune has fled from me — lost in my 

X 'J 



308 



CLEOPA TRA 



depth of love for thee, thou Beautiful. I mind it ! ' he gasped ; 
' then didst thou drink the pearl in wanton play, and then did 
that astrologer of thine call out his hour — " The hour of the 
coming of the curse of Menkau-ra." Through all the after-days 
those words have haunted me, and now at the last they ring 
in my ears.' 

1 He is long dead, my love,' she whispered. 

1 If he be dead, then I am near him. What meant he ? ' 

' He is dead, the accursed man ! — no more of him! Oh ! 
turn and kiss me, for thy face grows white. The end is 
near ! ' 

He kissed her on the lips, and for a little while so they 
stayed, to the moment of death, babbling their passion in each 
other's ears, like lovers newly wed. Even to my jealous 
heart, it was a strange and awful thing to see. 

Presently, I saw the Change of Death gather on his fnee. 
His head fell back. 

' Farewell, Egypt ; farewell ! — I die ! ' 

Cleopatra lifted herself upon her hands, gazed wildly on 
his ashen face, and then, with a great cry, she sank back 
swooning. 



But Antony yet lived, though the power of speech had 
left him. Then I drew near and, kneeling, made pretence to 
minister to him. And as I ministered I whispered in his 
ear : 

1 Antony,' I whispered, ' Cleopatra was my love before she 
passed from me to thee. I am Harmachis, that astrologer 
who stood behind thy conch at Tarsus ; and I have been the 
chief minister of thy ruin. 

1 Die, Antony 1 -the curse of Menkau-ra hath fallen /' 

lie raised himself, and stared upon my face. Be could not 



CLEOPA TRA 309 

ik. but, gibbering, he pointed at me. Then with a groan 
bis spirit fled. 

Thus did 1 accomplish my revenge upon Roman Antony, 
the World-loser. 

Thereafter, we recovered Cleopatra from her swoon, for 
not yet was 1 minded that she should die. And taking the 
body of Antony, Cffisar permitting, I and Atoua caused it 
to be most skilfully embalmed after our Egyptian fashion, 
covering the face with a mask of gold fashioned like to the 
features of Antony. Also I wrote upon his breast his name 
and titles, and painted his name and the name of his father 
within his inner coffin, and drew the form of the Holy Nout 
folding her wings about him. 

Then with great pomp Cleopatra laid him in that sepulchre 
which had been made ready, and in a sarcophagus of alabaster. 
Now, this sarcophagus was fashioned so large that place was 
left in it for a second coffin, for Cleopatra would lie by Antony 
at the last. 

These things then happened. And but a little while after 
I learned tidings from one Cornelius Dolabella, a noble Roman 
who w T aited upon Caesar, and, moved by the beauty that 
swayed the souls of all who looked upon her, had pity for the 
woes of Cleopatra. He bade me warn her — for, as her 
physician, it was allowed me to pass in and out of the tomb 
where she dwelt — that in three days she would be sent away 
to Rome, together with her children, save Crcsarion, whom 
Octavian had already slain, that she might walk in the 
triumph of Ctesar. Accordingly I went in, and found her 
sitting, as now she always sat, plunged in a half stupor, and 
before her that blood-stained robe with which she had 
staunched the wounds of Antony. For on this she would con- 
tinually feast her eyes. 



310 CLEOPATRA 

1 See how faint they grow, Olympus,' she said, lifting her 
sad face and pointing to the rusty stains, ' and he so lately 
dead ! Why, Gratitude could not fade more fast. "What is 
now thy news ? Evil tidings is writ large in those dark eyes 
of thine, which ever bring back to me something that still 
slips my mind.' 

' The news is ill, Queen,' I answered. • I have this 
from the lips of Dolabella, who has it straight from Caesar's 
secretary. On the third day from now Caesar will send thee 
and the Princes Ptolemy and Alexander and the Princess Cleo- 
patra to Eome, there to feast the eyes of the Roman mob, and 
be led in triumph to that Capitol where thou didst swear to 
set thy throne.' 

' Never, never ! ' she cried, springing to her feet. ' Never 
will 1 walk in chains in Caesar's triumph ! What must I do ? 
Charmion, tell me what I can do ! ' 

And Charmion, rising, stood before her, looking at her 
through the long lashes of her downcast eyes. 

1 Lady, thou canst die,' she said quietly. 

' Ay, of a truth I had forgotten ; I can die. Olympus, 
hast thou the drug ? ' 

' Nay ; but if the Queen wills it, by to-morrow morn it 
shall be breAved — a drug so swift and strong that not the 
Gods themselves can hold him who drinks it back from sleep.' 

' Let it be made ready, thou Master of Death ! ' 

I bowed, and withdrew myself; and all that night I and 
old Atoua laboured at the distilling of the deadly draught. At 
length it was done, and Atoua poured it into a crystal phial, 
and held it to the light of the lire ; for it was white as the 
purest water. 

'La! la!' she sang, in her shrill voice; 'a drink for 
a Queen ! When fifty drops of that water of my brewing have 
passed those red lips of hers, thou wilt indeed be avenged of 



Cl.t TRA 



3" 



Cleopatra, Harmachis! Ah, that I could be them to see 
thy Ruin ruined ! La ! la ! it would be sweet to see ! ' 

' Vengeance is an arrow that ofttimes falls upon the 
archer's head,' I answered, bethinking me of Charniion's 

saying. 



-)2 



CLEOPATRA 



CHAPTER VIII. 

OF THE LAST SUPPER OF CLEOPATRA ; OF THE SONG OF 
CHARMTON ; OF THE DRINKING OF THE DRAUGHT OF 
DEATH ; OF THE REVEALING OF HARMACHIS ; OF THE 
SUMMONING OF THE SPIRITS BY HARMACHIS ; AND OF THE 
DEATH OF CLEOPATRA. 



the morrow Cleopatra, having 
sought leave of Caesar, visited the 
tomb of Antony, crying that the 
Gods of Egypt had deserted her. 
And when she had kissed the coffin 
and covered it with lotus-flowers 
she came back, bathed, anointed 
herself, put on her most splendid 
robes, and, together with Iras, 
Charmion, and myself, she supped. 
Now as she supped her spirit flared 
up wildly, even as the sky lights 
up at sunset ; and once more she laughed and sparkled as in 
bygone years, telling us tales of feasts which she and Antony 
had eaten of. Never, indeed, did I see her look more beau- 
teous than on that last fatal night of vengeance. And thus 
her mind drew on to that supper at Tarsus when she drank 
the pearl. 

4 Strange, 1 she said ; ' strange that at the last the mind of 




CLEOPATRA jij 

Antony Bhould have turned back to that night among all the 
nights ami to the saving of Harmaohis. Charmion, thoudost 
remember Harmaohis the Egyptian?' 

4 Surely, Queen, 1 she answered Blowly. 

1 And who, then, was Harmachis ? ' 1 asked ; for 1 would 
learn if she sorrowed o'er my memory. 

' I will tell thee. It is a strange tale, and now that all is 
done it may well be told. This Harmachis was of the ancient 
race of the Pharaohs, and, having, indeed, been crowned in 
secret at Abydus, was sent hither to Alexandria to carry out a 
great plot that had been formed against the rule of us royal 
Lagidae. lie came and gained entry to the palace as my 
astrologer, for he was very learned in all magic — much as thou 
art, Olympus — and a man beautiful to see. Now this was his 
plot — that he should slay me and be named Pharaoh. In 
truth it was a strong one, for he had many friends in Egypt, 
and I had few. And on that very night when he should carry 
out his purpose, yea, at the very hour, came Charmiou yonder, 
and told the plot to me ; saying that she had chanced upon 
its clue. But, in after days — though I have said little 
thereon to thee, Charmion— I misdoubted me much of that 
tale of thine ; for, by the Gods ! to this hour I believe that 
thou didst love Harmachis, and because he scorned thee 
thou didst betray him ; and for that cause also hast all tin- 
days remained a maid, which is a thing unnatural. Come, 
Charmion, tell us ; for naught it matters now at the end.' 

Charmion shivered and made answer : * It is true, Queen ; 
I also was of the plot, and because Harmachis scorned me I 
betrayed him ; and because of my great love for him I have 
remained unwed.' And she glanced up at me and caught my 
eyes, then let the modest lashes veil her own. 

' So ! I thought it. Strange are the ways of women ! 
But little cause, methinks, had that Harmachis to thank thee 



314 



CLEOPA TRA 



for thy love. What sayestthou, Olympus ? Ah, and so thou 
also wast a traitor, Charmion ? How dangerous are the paths 
which Monarchs tread ! Well, I forgive thee, for thou hast 
served me faithfully since that hour. 

1 But to my tale. Harmachis I dared not slay, lest his 
great party should rise in fury and cast me from the throne. 
And now mark the issue. Though he must murder me, in 
secret this Harmachis loved me, and something thereof I 
guessed. I had striven a little to draw him to me, for the 
sake of his beauty and his wit ; and for the love of man Cleo- 
patra never strove in vain. Therefore when, with the dagger 
in his robe, he came to slay me, I matched my charms against 
his will, and need I toll you, being man and women, how I 
won ? Oh, never can I forget the look in the eyes of that 
fallen prince, that forsworn priest, that discrowned Pharaoh, 
when, lost in the poppied draught, I saw him sink into a 
shameful sleep whence he might no more wake with honour ! 
And, thereafter — till, in the end, I wearied of him, and his 
sad learned mind, for his guilty soul forbade him to be gay — 
a little I came to care for him, though not to love. But he 
— he who loved me— clung to me as a drunkard to the cup 
which ruins him. Deeming that I should wed him, he 
betrayed to me the secret of the hidden wealth of the pyramid 
of Her — for at the time I much needed treasure — and together 
we dared the terrors of the tomb and drew it forth, even from 
dead Pharaoh's breast. See, this emerald was a part thereof ! ' 
— and she pointed to the great scarabajus that she had drawn 
from the holy heart of Menkau-ra. 

' And because of what was written in the tomb, and of that 
Thing which we saw in the tomb — ah, pest upon it ! why does 
its memory haunt me now ? — and also because of policy, for I 
would fain have won the love of the Egyptians, I was minded 
to marry this Harmachis and declare his place and lineage to 



CLEOPA IK A 315 

the world — ay, and by bis aid hold Egypt from tbe Roman. 
For Dellius bad then come to call 1110 to Antony, and after 
much thought I determined to Bend him back with sharp 
words. But on that very morning, as I tired ino for tbe 
Court, came Cbarniion yonder, and 1 told her tbis, for I 
would see bow the matter fell upon her mind. Now mark, 
Olympus, tbe power of jealousy, that little wedge which yet 
lias strength to rend the tree of Empire, that secret sword 
which can carve the fate of Kings ! This she could in 
nowise bear — deny it, Cbarniion, if thou canst, for now it 
is clear to me ! — that the man she loved should be given 
to me as husband — me, whom he loved ! And therefore, 
with more skill and wit than I can tell, she reasoned with me, 
showing that I should by no means do this thing, but journey 
to Antony ; and for that, Cbarniion, I thank thee, now that 
all is come and gone. And by a very little, her words weighed 
down my scale of judgment against Harmachis, and I went to 
Antony. Thus it is through the jealous spleen of yonder 
fair Charmion and the passion of a man on which I played 
as on a lyre, that all these things have come to pass. For 
this cause Octavian sits a King in Alexandria ; for this 
cause is Antony discrowned and dead ; and for this cause I, 
too, must die to-night ! Ah ! Charmion ! Charmion ! thou hast 
much to answer, for thou bast changed the story of the world ; 
and yet, even now — I w T ould not have it otherwise ! ' 

She paused awhile, covering her eyes with her hand; 
and, looking, I saw great tears upon the cheek of Charmion. 

' And of this Harmachis,' I asked ; ' where is he now, 
Queen ? ' 

1 Where is he ? In Amenti, forsooth — making bis peace 
with Isis, perchance. At Tarsus I saw Antony, and loved him ; 
and from that moment I loathed the sight of the Egyptian, 
and swore to make an end of him ; for a lover done with 



316 . CLEOPATRA 

should be a lover dead. And, being jealous, he spoke some 
words of evil omen, even at that Feast of the Pearl ; and on 
the same night 1 would have slain him, but before the deed 
was done, he was gone.' 

1 And whither was he gone ? ' 

1 Nay ; that know not I. Brennus — he who led my guard, 
and last year sailed North to join his own people — Brennus 
swore he saw him float to the skies ; but in this matter I mis- 
doubted me of Brennus, for methinks he loved the man. Nay, 
he sank off Cyprus, and w r as drowned ; perchance Charmion 
can tell us how ? ' 

' I can tell thee nothing, Queen ; Harmachis is lost.' 

' And well lost, Charmion, for he was an evil man to play 
with — ay, although I bettered him I say it! Well he served 
my purpose ; but I loved him not, and even now I fear him ; 
for it seemed to me that I heard his voice summoning me to 
lly, through the din of the light at Actium. Thanks be to 
the Gods, as thou sayest, he is lost, and can no more be found.' 

But I, listening, put forth my strength, and, by the arts I 
have, cast the shadow of my Spirit upon the Spirit of Cleopatra 
so that she felt the presence of the lost Harmachis. 

'Nay, what is it ? ' she said. ' By Serapis ! I grow afraid ! 
It seems to me that 1 feel Harmachis here! His memory over- 
whelms me like a flood of waters, and he these ten years dead ! 
Oh ! at sucli a time it is unholy ! ' 

' Nay, Queen,' I answered, ' if he be dead then is he 
everywhere, and well at such a time — the time of thy own 
death — may his Spirit draw near to welcome thine at its 
going.' 

' Speak not thus, Olympus. 1 would see Harmachis no 
more; the count between us is too heavy, and in another world 
than this more evenly, perchance should we be matched. Ah, 



CLEOPATRA 

the terror passes ! I was bat unnerved. Well the fool's storj 
hath served to wile away that heaviest of our hours, the hour 
which ends in death. Sing to me, Qharmion, Bing, for thy 

voice is very sweet, and I would soothe my soul to sleep. 
The memory of that Harmachis has wrung me strangely ! 
Sing, then, the last song that I shall hear from those tuneful 
lips of thine, the last of so many songs.' 

4 It is a sad hour for song, Queen ! ' said Charmion ; 
but, nevertheless, she took her harp and sang. And thus she 
sang, very soft and low, the dirge of the sweet-tongued Syrian 
Meleager : 

Tears for my lady dead, 

Heliodore ! 
Salt tears and strange to shed, 

Over and o'er ; 
Go tears and low lament 
Fare from her tomb, 
Wend where my lady went, 

Down through the gloom — 
Sighs for my lady dead, 

Tears do I send, 
Long love remembered, 

Mistress and friend ! 
Sad are the songs we sing, 

Tears that we shed, 
Empty the gifts we bring — 

Gifts to the dead ! 
Ah. for my flower, my Love, 

Hades hath taken, 
Ah, for the dust above, 

Scattered and shaken ! 
Mother of blade and grass, 

Earth, in thy breast 
Lull her that gentlest was 
Gently to rest ! 



Ii8 



CLEOPATRA 



The music of her voice died away, and it was so sweet aiK 
sad that Iras began to weep and the bright tears stood h 
Cleopatra's stormy eyes. Only I wept not ; my tears were dry. 

1 'Tis a heavy song of thine, Charmion,' said the Queen. 
1 Well, as thou saidst, it is a sad hour for song, and thy 
dirge is fitted to the hour. Sing it over me once again when 
I lie dead, Charmion. And now farewell to music, and on to 
the end. Olympus, take yonder parchment and write what I 
shall say.' 

I took the parchment and the reed, and wrote thus in the 
Roman tongue : 

1 Cleopatra to Octavianus, greeting. 

' This is the state of life. At length there comes an hour 
when, rather than endure those burdens that overwhelm us, 
putting off the body we would take wing into forgetfulness. 
Caesar, thou hast conquered : take thou the spoils of victory. 
But in thy triumph Cleopatra cannot walk. When all is lost, 
then we must go to seek the lost. Thus in the desert of Despair 
the brave do harvest Resolution. Cleopatra hath been great as 
Antony was great, nor shall her fame be minished in the 
manner of her end. Slaves live to endure their wrong ; but 
Princes, treading with a firmer step, pass through the gates 
of Wrong into the royal Dwellings of the Dead. This only 
doth Egypt ask of Caesar — that he suffer her to lie in the 
tomb of Antony. Farewell ! ' 

This I wrote, and having sealed the writing, Cleopatra 
bade me go find a messenger, despatch it to Caesar, and 
then return. So I went, and at the door of the tomb I called 
a soldier who was not on duty, and, giving him money, bade 
him take the letter to Caesar. Then I went back, and there 
in the chamber the three women stood in silence, Cleopatra 
clinging to the arm of Iras, and Charmion a little apart 
watching the twain. 



CLEOPATRA 319 

4 If indeed thou art minded to make an end, Queen, 1 I 

said, ' tin 1 time is short, for presently Ciesar will send his 
servants in answer to thy letter,' and I drew forth the phial 
of white and deadly banc and set it upon the board. 

She took it in her hand and gazed thereon. ' How in- 
nocent it seems ! ' she said ; ' and yet therein lies my death. 
'Tis strange.' 

1 Ay, Queen, and the death of ten other folk. No need to 
take so long a draught.' 

'I fear,' she gasped — 'how know I that it will slay out- 
right ? I have seen so many die by poison and scarce one 
has died outright. And some — ah, I cannot think on them ! ' 

* Fear not,' I said, ' I am a master of my craft. Or, if 
thou dost fear, cast this poison forth and live. In Rome thou 
mayst still find happiness : ay, in Rome, where thou shalt 
walk in Caesar's triumph, while the laughter of the hard-eyed 
Latin women shall chime down the music of thy golden chains. 

1 Nay, I will die, Olympus. Oh, if one would but show the 
path.' 

Then Iras loosed her hand and stepped forward. ' Give 
me the draught, Physician,' she said. ' I go to make ready 
for my Queen.' 

1 It is well,' I answered ; ' on thy own head be it ! ' and I 
poured from the phial into a little golden goblet. 

She raised it, curtsied low to Cleopatra, then, coming 
forward, kissed her on the brow, and Charmion she also 
kissed. This done, tarrying not and making no prayer, for 
Iras was a Greek, she drank, and, putting her hand to her 
head, instantly fell down and died. 

• Thou seest,' I said breaking in upon the silence, ' it is swift.' 
' Ay, Olympus ; thine is a master drug ! Come now, I 

thirst ; fill me the bowl, lest Iras weary in waiting at the gates ! ' 
So I poured afresh into the goblet ; but this time, making 



3 2o CLEOPA TRA 

pretence to rinse the cup, I mixed a little water with the 
bane, for I was not minded that she should die before she 
knew me. 

Then did the royal Cleopatra, taking the goblet in her 
hand, turn her lovely eyes to heaven and cry aloud : 

1 ye Gods of Egypt ! who have deserted me, to you no 
longer will I pray, for your ears are shut unto my crying and 
your eyes blind to my griefs ! Therefore, I make entreaty 
of that last friend whom the Gods, departing, leave to helpless 
man. Sweep hither, Death, whose winnowing wings enshadow 
all the world, and give me ear ! Draw nigh, thou King of 
Kings ! who, with an equal hand, bringest the fortunate head 
to one pillow with the slave, and by thy spiritual breath dost 
waft the bubble of our life far from this hell of earth ! Hide 
me where winds blow not and waters cease to roll ; where 
wars are done and Caesar's legions cannot march ! Take me 
to a new dominion, and crown me Queen of Peace ! Thou art 
my Lord, Death, and in thy kiss I have conceived. I am 
in labour of a Soul : see — it stands new-born upon the edge of 
Time ! Now — now — go, Life ! Come, Sleep ! Come, Antony ! ' 

And, with one glance to heaven, she drank, and cast the 
goblet to the ground. 



Then at last came the moment of my pent-up vengeance, 
and of the vengeance of Egypt's outraged Gods, and of the 
falling of the curse of Menkau-ra. 

' What's this ? ' she cried ; ' I grow cold, but I die not ! 
Thou dark physician, thou hast betrayed me ! ' 

'Peace, Cleopatra! Presently shalt thou die and know 
the fury of the Gods ! The curse of Menkau-ra hath fallen ! 
It is finished! Look upon me, woman! Look upon this 
marred face, this twisted form, this living mass of sorrow! 
Look I look ! Wlio am I?' 



CLEOPATRA 3^i 

She stared upon me wildly. 

' Oh ! oh ! ' she shrieked, throwing up her arms ; ' at last 
I know thee! l<y the Clods, thou art Ilarmachis ! — Ilarma- 
chis risen from the dead ! ' 

1 Ay, Harmachis risen from the dead to drag thee down 
to death and agony eternal ! See, thou, Cleopatra : I have 
ruined thee as thou didst ruin me ! I, working in the dark, 
and helped of the angry Gods, have been thy secret spring of 
woe ! I filled thy heart with fear at Actium ; I held the 
Egyptians from thy aid ; I sapped the strength of Antony ; I 
showed the portent of the Gods unto thy captains ! By my 
hand at length thou diest, for I am the instrument of Ven- 
geance ! Kuin I pay thee back for ruin, Treachery for trea- 
chery, Death for death ! Come hither, Charmion, partner of 
my plots, w 7 ho betrayed me, but, repenting, art the sharer of 
my triumph, come watch this fallen w T anton die.' 

Cleopatra heard, and sank back upon the golden bed, 
groaning ' And thou, too, Charmion ! ' 

A moment so she sat, then her Imperial spirit burnt up 
glorious before she died. 

She staggered from the bed, and, with arms outstretched, 
she cursed me. 

* Oh ! for one hour of life ! ' she cried — ' one short hour, 
that therein I might make thee die in such a fashion as thou 
canst not dream, thou and that false paramour of thine, who 
betrayed both me and thee ! And thou didst love me ! Ah, 
there I have thee still ! See, thou subtle, plotting priest ' — 
and w T ith both hands she rent back the royal robes from her 
bosom — ' see, on this fair breast once night by night thy head 
was pillowed, and thou didst sleep wrapped in these same 
arms. Now, put aw r ay their memory if thou canst ! I read 
it in thine eyes— that mayst thou not! No torture which I 
bear can, in its sum, draw 7 nigh to the rage of that deep soul 

Y 



322 CLEOPA TRA 

of thine, rent with longings never, never to be reached ! 
Harmachis, thou slave of slaves, from thy triumph-depths I 
snatch a deeper triumph, and conquered yet I conquer ! I 
spit upon thee — I defy thee — and, dying, doom thee to the 
torment of thy deathless love ! Antony ! I come, my 
Antony ! — I come to thy own dear arms ! Soon I shall find 
thee, and, wrapped in a love undying and divine, together 
we will float through all the depths of space, and, lips to lips 
and eyes to eyes, drink of desires grown more sweet with every 
draught ! Or if I find thee not, then I shall sink in peace 
down the poppied ways of Sleep : and for me the breast of 
Night, whereon I shall be softly cradled, will yet seem thy 
bosom, Antony ! Oh, I die ! — come, Antony — and give me 
peace ! ' 

Even in my fury I had quailed beneath her scorn, for home 
flew the arrows of her winged words. Alas ! and alas ! it was 
true — the shaft of my vengeance fell upon my own head ; 
never had I loved her as I loved her now. My soul was rent 
with jealous torture, and thus I swore she should not die. 

' Peace ! ' I cried ; ' what peace is there for thee ? Oh ! ye 
Holy Three, hear now my prayer. Osiris, loosen Thou the 
bonds of Hell and send forth those whom I shall summon ! 
Come Ptolemy, poisoned of thy sister Cleopatra ; come Ar- 
sinoe, murdered in the sanctuary by thy sister Cleopatra ; 
come Sepa, tortured to death of Cleopatra ; come Divine 
Menkau-ra, whose body Cleopatra tore and whose curse she 
braved for greed ; come one, come all who have died at the 
hands of Cleopatra ! Bush from the breast of Nout and greet 
her who murdered you ! By the link of mystic union, by the 
symbol of the Life, Spirits, I summon you ! ' 

Thus I spoke the spell ; while Charmion, affrighted, clung 
to my robe, and the dying Cleopatra, resting on her hands, 
swung slowly to and fro, gazing with vacant eyes. 



CLEi WATRA 323 

Thru the answer came, The casement burst asunder, and 
on flittering wings that great bat entered which last I had 

seen hanging to the eunuch's chin in the womb of the pyra- 
mid of Her. Thrice it circled round, once it hovered o'er 
dead Iras, then flew to where the dying woman stood. To 
her it flew, on her breast it settled, clinging to that emerald 
which was dragged from the dead heart of Menkau-ra. Thrice 
the grey Horror screamed aloud, thrice it beat its bony wings, 
and lo ! it was gone. 

Then suddenly within that chamber sprang up the 
Shapes of Death. There was Arsinoe, the beautiful, even 
as she had shrunk beneath the butcher's knife. There was 
young Ptolemy, his features twisted by the poisoned cup. 
There was the majesty of Menkau-ra, crowned with the 
uraeus crown ; there was grave Sepa, his flesh all torn by 
the torturer's hooks ; there were those poisoned slaves; and 
there were others without number, shadowy and dreadful to 
behold! who, thronging that narrow chamber, stood silently 
fixing their glassy eyes upon the face of her who slew them ! 

1 Behold ! Cleopatra ! ' I said. ' Behold thy 'peace, and 
die ! ' 

' Ay ! ' said Charmion. • Behold and die ! thou who didst 
rob me of my honour, and Egypt of her King ! ' 

She looked, she saw the awful Shapes — her Spirit, hurrying 
from the flesh, mayhap could hear words to which my ears 
were deaf. Then her face sank in with terror, her great eves 
grew pale, and, shrieking, Cleopatra fell and died : passing, 
with that dread company, to her appointed place. 

Thus, then, I, Harmachis, fed my soul with vengeance, ful- 
filling the justice of the Gods, and yet knew myself empty of all 

Y 2 



324 CLEOPATRA 

joy therein. For though that thing we worship doth bring us 
ruin, and Love being more pitiless than Death, we in turn do 
pay all our sorrow back ; yet we must worship on, yet stretch 
out our arms towards our lost Desire, and pour our heart's 
blood upon the shrine of our discrowned God. 

For Love is of the Spirit and knows not Death. 



CLEOPATRA 



.325 



CHAPTER IX. 

OF THE FAREWELL OF CHABMION J OF THE DEATH OF 
CHARMION ; OF THE DEATH OF THE OLD WIFE, ATOUA | 
OF THE COMING OF HARMACHIS TO ABOUTHIS ; OF 
HIS CONFESSION IN THE HALL OF SIX-AND-THIRTY 
PILLARS ; AND OF THE DECLARING OF THE DOOM OF 
HARMACHIS. 



HARMION unclasped my arm, to 
which she had clung in terror. 

1 Thy vengeance, thou dark 

Harmachis,' she said, in a hoarse 

voice, ' is a thing hideous to behold ! 

lost Egypt, with all thy sins thou 

wast indeed a Queen ! 

'Come, aid me, Prince; let us stretch 
this poor clay upon the bed and deck it 
royally, so that it may give its dumb 
audience to the messengers of Caesar as 
becomes the last of Egypt's Queens.' 
I spoke no word in answer, for my heart was very heavy, 
and now that all was done I was weary. Together, then, we 
lifted up the body and laid it on the golden bed. Charmion 
placed the uraeus crown upon the ivory brow, and combed the 
night-dark hair that showed never a thread of silver, and, for 
the last time, shut those eyes wherein had shone all the 




326 CLEOPA TRA 

changing glories of the sea. She folded the chill hands upon 
the breast whence Passion's breath had fled, and straightened 
the bent knees beneath the broidered robe, and by the head 
set flowers. And there at length Cleopatra lay, more splendid 
now in her cold majesty of death than in her richest hour of 
breathing beauty ! 

We drew back and looked on her, and on dead Iras at 
her feet. 

' It is done ! ' quoth Charmion ; ' we are avenged, and 
now, Harmachis, dost follow by this same road ? ' And she 
nodded toward the phial on the board. 

' Nay, Charmion. I fly — I fly to a heavier death ! Not 
thus easily may I end my space of earthly penance.' 

' So be it, Harmachis ! And I, Harmachis— I fly also, but 
with swifter wings. My game is played. I, too, have made 
atonement. Oh ! what a bitter fate is mine, to have brought 
misery on all I love, and, in the end, to die unloved ! To thee 
I have atoned ; to my angered Gods I have atoned ; and now 
I go to find a way whereby I may atone to Cleopatra in that 
Hell where she is, and which I must share ! For she loved me 
well, Harmachis ; and, now that she is dead, methinks that, 
after thee, I loved her best of all. So of her cup and the cup 
of Iras I will surely drink ! ' And she took the phial, and 
with a steady hand poured that which was left of the poison 
into the goblet. 

' Bethink thee, Charmion,' I said ; ' yet mayst thou live 
for many years, hiding these sorrows beneath the withered 
days.' 

1 Yet I may, but I will not ! To live the prey of so many 
memories, the fount of an undying shame that night by night, 
as I lie sleepless, shall well afresh from my sorrow- stricken 
heart ! — to live torn by a love I cannot lose! — to stand alone 
like some storm-twisted tree, and, sighing day by day to tli« i 



C LEO PA TRA 327 

winds of heaven, gaze upon the desert of my life, while I wait 
the lingering lightning's stroke — nay, that will not I, Harma- 
chis ! I had died long since, but I lived on to serve thee ; 
now no more thou needest me, and I go. Oh, fare thee well! 
— for ever fare thee well ! For not again shall I look upon thy 
face, and where I go thou goest not ! For thou dost not love 
me who still dost love that queenly woman thou hast hounded 
to the death ! Her thou shalt never win, and thee I shall 
never win, and this is the bitter end of Fate ! See, Harma- 
chis : I ask one boon before I go and for all time become 
naught to thee but a memory of shame. Tell me that thou 
dost forgive me so far as thine it is to forgive, and in token 
thereof kiss me — with no lover's kiss, but kiss me on the 
brow, and bid me pass in peace.' 

And she drew near to me with arms outstretched and 
pitiful trembling lips and gazed upon my face. 

' Charmion,' I answered, ' we are free to act for good or evil, 
and yet methinks there is a Fate above our fate, that, blowing 
from some strange shore, compels our little sails of purpose, 
set them as we will, and drives us to destruction. I for- 
give thee, Charmion, as I trust in turn to be forgiven, and by 
this kiss, the first and the last, I seal our peace.' And with 
my lips I touched her brow. 

She spoke no more ; only for a little while she stood 
gazing on me with sad eyes. Then she lifted the goblet, and 
said : 

1 Eoyal Harmachis, in this deadly cup I pledge thee ! 
Would that I had drunk of it ere ever I looked upon thy face ! 
Pharaoh, who, thy sins outworn, yet shalt rule in perfect peace 
o'er worlds I may not tread, who yet shalt sway a kinglier 
sceptre than that I robbed thee of, for ever, fare thee 
well ! ' 

She drank, cast down the cup, and for a moment stood 



328 C LEO PA TRA 

with the wide eyes of one who looks for Death. Then He 
came, and Charmion the Egyptian fell prone upon the floor, 
dead. And for a moment more I stood alone with the dead. 

I crept to the side of Cleopatra, and, now that none were 
left to see, I sat down on the bed and laid her head upon 
my knee, as once before it had been laid in that night of 
sacrilege beneath the shadow of the everlasting pyramid. 
Then I kissed her chill brow and went from the House of 
Death — avenged, but sorely smitten with despair ! 

' Physician,' said the officer of the Guard as I went 
through the gates, 'what passes yonder in the Monument? 
Methought I heard the sounds of death.' 

'Naught passes— all hath passed,' I made reply, and 
went. 

And as I went in the darkness I heard the sound of voices 
and the running of the feet of Caesar's messengers. 

Flying swiftly to my house I found Atoua waiting at the 
gates. She drew me into a quiet chamber and closed the 
doors. 

1 Is it done ? ' she asked, and turned her wrinkled face to 
mine, while the lamplight streamed white upon her snowy 
hair. ' Nay, why ask ? I — I know that it is done ! ' 

' Ay, it is done, and well done, old wife ! All are dead ! 
Cleopatra, Iras, Charmion— all save myself ! ' 

The aged woman drew up her bent form and cried : ' Now 
let me go in peace, for I have seen my desire upon thy foes 
and the foes of Khem. La ! la /—not in vain have I lived on 
beyond the years of man ! I have seen my desire upon thy 
enemies— I have gathered the dews of Death, and thy foe hath 
drunk thereof ! Fallen is the brow of Pride ! the Shame of 
Khem is level with the dust ! Ah, would that I might have 
seen that wanton die ! ' 



CI.KOPA TRA 329 

'Cease, woman! cease! The Dead arc gathered to the 

Dead ! Osiris holds them fast, and everlasting silence seals 
their lips ! Pursue not the fallen great with insults ! Up !— 
let us fly to Abouthis, that all may be accomplished ! ' 

' Fly thou, Harmachis ! — Harmachis, fly — but I fly not ! 
To this end only I have lingered on the earth. Now I untie 
the knot of life and let my spirit free ! Fare thee well, Prince, 
the pilgrimage is done ! Harmachis, from a babe have I 
loved thee, and love thee yet ! — but no more in this world 
may I share thy griefs — I am spent. Osiris, take thou my 
Spirit ! ' and her trembling knees gave way and she sank to 
the ground. 

I ran to her side and looked upon her. She was already 
dead, and I was alone upon the earth without a friend to 
comfort me ! 

Then I turned and went, no man hindering me, for all 
was confusion in the city, and departed from Alexandria in a 
vessel I had made ready. On the eighth day, I landed, and, 
in the carrying out of my purpose, travelled on foot across the 
fields to the Holy Shrines of Abouthis. And here, as I knew, 
the worship of the Gods had been lately set up again in the 
Temple of the Divine Sethi : for Charmion had caused 
Cleopatra to repent of her decree of vengeance and to restore 
the lands that she had seized, though the treasure she restored 
not. And the temple having been purified, now, at the 
season of the Feast of Isis, all the High Priests of the ancient 
Temples of Egypt were gathered together to celebrate the 
coming home of the Gods into their holy place. 

I gained the city. It was on the seventh day of the Feast 
of Isis. Even as I came the long array wended through the 
well-remembered streets. I joined in the multitude that 
followed, and with my voice swelled the chorus of the solemn 



330 CLEOPATRA 

chant as we passed through the pylons into the imperishable 
halls. How well known were the holy words : 

' Softly we tread, our measured footstej>s falling 

Within the Sanctuary Sevenfold; 
Soft on the Dead that liveth are we calling : 

" Return, Osiris, from thy Kingdom cold ! 

Return to them that worship thee of old." ' 

And, then, when the sacred music ceased, as aforetime on the 
setting of the majesty of Ra, the High Priest raised the statue 
of the living God and held it on high before the multitude. 
With a joyful shout of 

( Osiris ! our hope, Osiris ! Osiris ! ' 

the people tore the black wrappings from their dress, showing 
the white robes beneath, and, as one man, bowed before the 
God. 

Then they went to feast each at his home ; but I stayed in 
the court of the temple. 

Presently a priest of the temple drew near, and asked me 
of my business. And I answered him that I came from 
Alexandria, and would be led before the council of the High 
Priests, for I knew that the Holy Priests were gathered together 
debating the tidings from Alexandria. 

Thereon the man left, and the High Priests, hearing that 
I was from Alexandria, ordered that I should be led into their 
presence in the second Hall of Columns— and so I was led in. 
It was already dark, and between the great pillars lights were 
set, as on that night when I was crowned Pharaoh of the 
Upper and the Lower Land. There, too, was the long line 
of Dignitaries seated in their carven chairs, and taking counsel 
together. All was fehe same; the same cold images of Kings 
and Gods gazed with the same empty eyes from the ever- 
lasting walls. Ay, more ; among those gathered there were 



CLEOPATRA 331 

five of the very men who, as leaders of the great plot, had sat 
here to see me crowned, heing the only conspirators who had 
escaped the vengeance of Cleopatra and the clutching hand of 
Time. 

I took my stand on the spot where once I had been crowned 
and made me ready for the last act of shame with such bitter- 
ness of heart as cannot be written. 

1 Why, it is the physician Olympus,' said one. ' He who 
lived a hermit in the Tombs of Tape, and who but lately was 
of the household of Cleopatra. Is it, then, true that the 
Queen is dead by her own hand, Physician ? 

1 Yea, holy Sirs, I am that physician ; also Cleopatra is 
dead by my hand.' 

1 By thy hand ? Why, how comes this ? — though well is 
she dead, forsooth, the wicked wanton ! ' 

' Your pardon, Sirs, and I will tell you all, for I am come 
hither to that end. Perchance among you there may be 
some— methinks I see some — who, nigh eleven years ago, were 
gathered in this hall to secretly crown one Harmachis, 
Pharaoh of Khem ? ' 

4 It is true ! ' they said ; ' but how knowest thou these 
things, thou Olympus ? ' 

1 Of the rest of those seven- and- thirty nobles,' I went on, 
making no answer, ' are two-and-thirty missing. Some are 
dead, as Amenemhat is dead ; some are slain, as Sepa is 
slain ; and some, perchance, yet labour as slaves within the 
mines, or live afar, fearing vengeance.' 

1 It is so,' they said : ' alas ! it is so. Harmachis the 
accursed betrayed the plot, and sold himself to the wanton 
Cleopatra ! ' 

'It is so,' I went on, lifting up my head. ■ Harmachis 
betrayed the plot and sold himself to Cleopatra ; and, holy 
Sirs — I am that Harmachis ! ' 



332 CLEOPA TRA 

The Priests and Dignitaries gazed astonished. Some rose 
and spoke ; some said naught. 

1 1 am that Harmachis ! I am that traitor, trebly steeped 
in crime ! — a traitor to my Gods, a traitor to my Country, a 
traitor to my Oath ! I come hither to say that I have done 
this. I have executed the Divine vengeance on her who 
ruined me and gave Egypt to the Eoman. And now that, 
after years of toil and patient waiting, this is accomplished by 
my wisdom and the help of the angry Gods, behold I come 
with all my shame upon my head to declare the thing I am, 
and take the traitor's guerdon ! ' 

' Mindest thou of the doom of him who hath broke the 
oath that may not be broke ? ' asked he who first had spoken, 
in heavy tones. 

1 1 know it well,' I answered ; ' I court that awful doom.' 

1 Tell us more of this matter, thou who wast Harmachis.' 

So, in cold clear words, I laid bare all my shame, keeping 
back nothing. And ever as I spoke I saw their faces grow 
more hard, and knew that for me there was no mercy ; nor 
did I ask it, nor, had I asked, could it have been granted. 

When, at last, I had done, they put me aside while they 
took counsel. Then they drew me forth again, and the 
eldest among them, a man very old and venerable, the Priest 
of the Temple of the Divine Hatshepu at Tape, spoke, in icy 
accents : 

' Thou Harmachis, we have considered this matter. Thou 
hast sinned the threefold deadly sin. On thy head lies the 
burden of the woe of Kliem, this day enthralled of Koine. To 
lsis, the Mother Mystery, thou hast offered the deadly insult, 
and thou hast broken thy holy oath. For all of these sins 
there is, as well thou knowest, but one reward, and that 
reward is thine. Naught can it weigh in the balance of our 
justice that thou hast slain her who was thy cause of stum- 



CLEOPATRA 322 

"bling ; naught that thou comest to name thyself the vi 
thing who ever stood within these walls. On thee also 
must fall the curse of Menkau-ra, thou false priest ! thou for- 
sworn patriot ! thou Pharaoh shameful and discrowned ! 
Here, where we set the Double Crown upon thy head, we 
doom thee to the doom ! Go to thy dungeon and await the 
falling of its stroke ! Go, remembering what thou mightest 
have been and what thou art, and may those Gods who 
through thy evil doing shall perchance ere long cease to be 
worshipped within these holy temples, give to thee that 
mercy which we deny ! Lead him forth ! ' 

So they took me and led me forth. With bowed head I 
went, looking not up, and yet I felt their eyes burn upon my 
face. 

Oh ! surely of all my shames this is the heaviest ! 



334 



CLEOPATRA 



CHAPTER X. 

OF THE LAST WRITING OF HAEMACHIS, THE ROYAL 
EGYPTIAN. 



HEY led me to the prison chamber 
that is high in the pylon tower 
and here I wait my doom. I know 
not when the sword of Fate shall 
fall. Week grows to week, and 
month to month, and still it is 
delayed. Still it quivers unseen 
above my head. I know that it 
will fall, but when I know not. 
Perchance, I shall wake in some dead 
hour of midnight to hear the stealthy steps of 
the slayers and be hurried forth. Perchance, they 
are now at hand. Then will come the secret cell ! the 
horror ! the nameless coffin ! and at last it will be done ! 
Oh, let it come ! let it come swiftly ! 

All is written; I have held back nothing — my sin is sinned 
— my vengeance is finished. Now all things end in dark- 
ness and in ashes, and I prepare to face the terrors that 
are to come in other worlds than this. 1 go, but not without 
hope I go : for, though I see Her not, though no more She 
answers to my praters, still 1 am aware of the Holy Isis, who 




CLEOPA TRA 335 

is with me for evermore and whom 1 shall yet again behold 

face to lace. And then at last in that far day I shall find 
forgiveness ; then the burden of my guilt will roll from me 
and innocency come back and wrap me round, bringing me 
holy Peace. 

Oh ! dear land of Khem, as in a dream I see thee ! I see 
Nation after Nation set its standard on thy shores, and its 
yoke upon thy neck ! I see new Religions without end calling 
out their truths upon the banks of Sihor, and summoning 
thy people to their worship ! I see thy temples — thy holy 
temples — crumbling in the dust : a wonder to the sight of 
men unborn, who shall peer into thy tombs and desecrate 
the great ones of thy glory ! I see thy mysteries a mockery 
to the unlearned, and thy wisdom wasted like waters on the 
desert sands ! I see the Roman Eagles stoop and perish, 
their beaks yet red with the blood of men, and the long 
lights. dancing down the barbarian spears that follow in their 
wake ! And then, at last, I see Thee once more great, once 
more free, and having once more a knowledge of thy Gods — 
ay, thy Gods with a changed countenance, and called by other 
names, but still thy Gods ! 

The sun sinks over Abouthis. The red rays of Ra flame 
on temple roofs, upon green fields, and the wide waters of 
father Sihor. So as a child I watched him sink ; just so his 
last kiss touched the further pylon's frowning brow ; just 
that same shadow lay upon the tombs. All is unchanged ! 
I — I only am changed — so changed, and yet the same ! 

Oh, Cleopatra ! Cleopatra, thou Destroyer ! if I might but 
tear thy vision from my heart ! Of all my griefs, this is the 
heaviest grief— still must I love thee ! Still must I hug this 



33b CLEOPA TRA 

serpent to my heart ! Still in my ears must ring that low 
laugh of triumph— the murmur of the falling fountain — the 
song of the nightinga 

[Here the writing on the third roll of papyrus abruptly 
ends. It would almost seem that the ivriter tvas at this 
moment broken in upon by those who came to lead him to his 
doom.] 



THE END. 



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